Sunday Opinion: White Bread

White bread-I am sure you know what I am talking about.  That bread that is made from wheat flour from which the bran and the gram has been removed by milling.   Not Italian peasant bread.  Not French baguettes.  Not 6 grain whole wheat bread.  Not rye or pumpernickel. Not panetta, or flatbread, or pita bread. Not sunflowers seed bread, or molasses bread.  Not banana or apricot/walnut bread. Not focaccia or panetone or hardtack.  Not Challah, tortilla, ciabatta, sourdough bread,  or biscuits.  Not a French boule, or broiche, or zwieback,  or sour dough bread.  Not cornbread, soda bread, potato bread or lavash. Not matzo, not bagels, not sour dough.  Plain white bread.

Buck brought me lunch today.  Tuna salad.  He brought a container of tabouli-a salad with many recipes centering around parsley.  And a Mediterranean lentil/pasta salad.  I mixed the three elements evenly.  I had in mind to have a sandwich.  Lots of good food that tasted great on their own, and even better given the mix.  The mix of flavors and textures made for a really good lunch.  As for the sandwich bread-all this great mix asked for was a friendly vehicle.  A sturdy enclosure that would make the sandwich not only delicious, but easy to eat.  White bread.  Specialty breads-I like to eat them as toast, or with butter.  So I can enjoy what  makes that particular kind of bread an experience all its own.  Ordinary Michigan baked white bread -it is a strong and sturdy food that compliments a salad based sandwich.


I think about the contribution to design that white bread makes, routinely.  Not every element in the landscape is the star of the show. Some elements are the glue that stitches a narrative together.  That white bread may be pachysandra, boxwood, grass, or a creeping thyme.  A drift of ornamental grasses.  A path that connects this place to that one.   A hedge whose sole purpose is to feature the garden planted in front of it.

My Sunday noon sandwich was a symphony of flavors and textures, piled high between a pair of slices of plain white bread.  It occurs to me that the most elemental garden might be a field of wheat.



  1. Yes I like all of the yummies you talked about….

  2. G&G Silver says

    My wife and I enjoy a loaf of fresh made white bread every week.

    • Deborah Silver says

      My white bread is from the Knickerbocker Baking Company in Madison Heights, Michigan. They call it crispy French bread. I call it comfort foor.

  3. So probably not zucchini bread, right? You make a good point and one that this go-to-a-specialty-nursery-and-buy-one-of-every-cool-and-weird-plant kind of gardener needs to take to heart. My approach leads to a great collection of plants but a less than soothing garden!

  4. boxwood is my wonder bread. easy, reliable and just handy to have around.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Nanne, you get my drift. Handy, reliable, easy. The background is just as important as the foreground. Just less visually demanding thanks, Deborah

  5. Betsy Linn says

    I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I can HIRE some help, which is so glorious because I’m tremendously busy.

    But I’ve had the HARDEST time finding landscapers/maintenance companies who will just install what I want. They are either HARD minimalists and think that I’m making chaos (an apron of perennials IN FRONT of a hedge? Never!), or they find my designs “boring” (because who puts a hedge behind another hedge!) and want to make everything into little groups of three or five.


    I want a foundation, a geometry of formal-ish hedges (let the yew jump to the skies for now, for instance, and plant viburnum in a row but space them so their individuality can be seen…) with a bit of perennial exuberance in front, as a low apron. Or use a 2′ wide apron of a single, quiet plant in front of a cutting garden organized as a mixed, blocked border. Or have a row of boxwood in front of a riot of different kinds of roses. ALL of these designs have very, very long pedigrees. And I have to fight for them–not for the individual plant choices, even but for the idea of having two different shrubs in a row, say Limelight hydrangeas in front of boxwood or Mood yew behind Incrediball…and then an apron of perennials in front. Either the perennials are “too much” if they are more than one species (never mind that most are ephemerals or visually disappear when not in bloom if they aren’t!) or hedges are “boring.”

    No, it’s not. It’s about bells and bones! Build your bones and make them lovely. Then embellish things that are seasonally interesting.

    YES! White bread! And YES! Yummy filling!


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