Juvenal: Will you please … learn the colour of your own bread

Class consciousness didn’t commence in the bakeries of the Industrial Revolution.

Otto van Veen, distribution of herring and white bread after the raising of the Spanish siege of Leiden by the Geuzen in 1574

Otto van Veen, distribution of herring and white bread after the raising of the Spanish siege of Leiden by the Geuzen in 1574 Image: Wikipedia.

I guess my belief that this was a 19th century phenomenon came from indoctrination by a Marxist cook, and I never wondered about obvious stuff like the origins of the name Whitbread, as in the 18th century brewer. Here’s the full chunk gleaned from the excellent Michael Gilleland:

See with what a grumble another of them has handed you a bit of hard bread that you can scarce break in two, or lumps of dough that have turned mouldy—stuff that will exercise your grinders and into which no tooth can gain admittance. For Virro himself a delicate loaf is reserved, white as snow, and kneaded of the finest flour. Be sure to keep your hands off it: take no liberties with the bread-basket! If you are presumptuous enough to take a piece, there will be someone to bid you put it down: “What, Sir Impudence? Will you please fill yourself from your proper tray, and learn the colour of your own bread?”

The downside for Virro and his kind is that the (typically white) baguette is easier to stuff up someone’s arse than the (typically brown) brick.

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Published
Last updated 16/07/2012

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Brown bread (1): Brown bread is a designation often given to breads made with significant amounts of whole grain flour, usually wheat, and sometimes dark-colored ingredients such as molasses or coffee.

Class consciousness (1): In political theory and particularly Marxism, class consciousness is the set of beliefs that a person holds regarding their social class or economic rank in society, the structure of their class, and their class interests.

Juvenal (1): Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century AD.

Kaleboel (4315):

Karl Marx (45):

Whitbread (1): Whitbread plc is a British multinational hotel and restaurant company headquartered in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.

White bread (1): White bread typically refers to breads made from wheat flour from which the bran and the germ layers have been removed from the whole wheatberry as part of the flour grinding or milling process, producing a light-colored flour.


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