What food is more basic, more essential and more universal than bread? Common to the diets of both rich and poor, bread is one of our oldest foods. Loaves and rolls have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and excavated from ovens in Pompeii that were buried when Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. From the sixteenth-century English peasants' bread made with pea flour and rye, to the grain-wasting, pure white bread of the French court, from the crusty sourdough loaf made by artisan bakers to the doughy 'sliced white' found in every supermarket, there is a bread for every time and place in history.

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