A loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius. The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud. (via Ridiculously Interesting)
(sigh) I’ve seen these before, but this one’s particularly beautiful.
I feel like I’m supposed to be marveling over the fact that this is a loaf of bread that’s been preserved for thousands of years, and don’t get me wrong, that’s hella cool. But honestly, I’m mostly struck by the unexpected news that “bread fraud” was apparently once a serious concern.
Bread Fraud was a huge thing, Bread was provided to the Roman people by the government - bakers were given grain to make the free bread, but some of them stole the government grain to use in other baked goods and would add various substitutes, like sawdust or even worse things, to the bread instead. So if people complained that their free bread was not proper bread, the stamp told them exactly whose bakery they ought to burn down.
Bread stamps continued to be used at least until the Medieval period in Europe. Any commercially sold bread had to be stamped with an official seal to identify the baker to show that it complied with all rules and regulations about size, price, and quality. This way, rotten or undersized loaves could be traced back to the baker. Bakers could be pilloried, sent down the streets in a hurdle cart with the offending loaf tied around their neck, fined, or forbidden to engage in baking commercially ever again in that city. There are records of a baker in London being sent on a hurdle cart because he used an iron rod to increase the weight of his loaves, and another who wrapped rotten dough with fresh who was pilloried. Any baker hurdled three times had to move to a new city if they wanted to continue baking.
If you have made bread, you are probably familiar with a molding board. It’s a flat board used to shape the bread. Clever fraudsters came up with a molding board that had a little hole drilled into it that wasn’t easily noticed. A customer would buy his dough by weight, and then the baker would force some of that dough through the hole, so they could sell and underweight loaf and use the stolen dough to bake new loafs to sell. Molding boards ended up being banned in London after nine different bakers were caught doing this. There were also instances of grain sellers withholding grain to create an artificial scarcity drive up the price of that, and things like bread.
Bread, being one of the main things that literally everyone ate in many parts of the world, ended up with a plethora of rules and regulations. Bakers were probably no more likely to commit fraud than anyone else, but there were so many of them, that we ended up with lots and lots of rules and records of people being shifty.
Check out Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony by Madeleine Pelner Cosman for a whole chapter on food laws as they existed in about 1400. Plus the color plates are fantastic.
ALL OF THIS IS SO COOL
I found something too awesome not share with you!
I’m completely fascinated by the history of food, could I choose a similar topic for my Third Year Dissertation? Who knows, but it is very interesting all the same!
Agent Coulson is down
#gif warning #avengers #okay but why does nOBODY EVER TALK ABOUT THE GENERATION GAP #come on guys this is the MOST INTERESTING THING #look if steve had lived through the war he would have been part of that post-wwii generation #imagine steve in the 60S GUYS #you think he would have put up with those young folks disrespecting those soldiers and his country by protesting the war? HECK NO #remember that scene at the beginning of ca:tfa where he tells off that guy in the movie theater? THAT WOULD BE STEVE IN THE 60S #and tony is in his 40s!! tony is gen x! tony is NOT EVEN A BOOMER #tony is TOO YOUNG TO BE A BABY BOOMER tony is YOUNGER THAN OUR PARENTS #tony doesn’t know what it’s like to live in a country that’s in total war! tony doesn’t know what it’s like for loyalty to your country t… #to be something that almost everyone has! #look guys we make fun of america ALL THE TIME we mock patriotism and nationalism and the usa CON STANT LY #when steve hears the word soldier he equates it with the word hero #and when tony hears the word soldier he hears an insult. #because steve’s war is wwii #and tony’s wars are vietnam and iraq and afghanistan and tony knows that when america fights wars it is not necessarily the good guy! #and steve cannot even BEGIN to comprehend that #steve barely knows what WATERGATE is for god’s sake steve probably still trusts the government #steve doesn’t know about jfk conspiracy theories! steve doesn’t know about the patriot act #(and let me remind you that in 616 canon steve actually fought a war to bring down the expy!patriot act) #god america has grown up SO MUCH since steve’s day #americans are sarcastic and cynical and plugged into the media 24/7 #americans depricate themselves constantly americans hate america more than anybody else does #pearl harbor turned america into a unified force for change in the world; 9/11 turned america into something paranoid and bitter #steve no longer represents america #he represents what america wishes it had ever been #and tony? tony understands the usa a whole lot better than steve does and he knows it and steve never will #and tony understands how war can destroy and steve only understands how it can save
always reblog for those tags
I didn’t get any cake yesterday cause apparently my dad was still working on it.
He brought it to school today and I’m just-
is all of that
wtf i think your dad just defied the law of physics and pastries
Is ur dad cake boss