Cool facts about sliced bread

What a time to be alive. Two hundred years ago, you could cut bread with a bread knife and put it in an oven, but that just wouldn't be the same as popping a pre-sliced square in the toaster— a tiny convenience of modern life. I saw on Reddit that "when sliced bread was first announced in 1928 it was referred to as, "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped." Fascinated, I collected facts about toast, toasters, and sliced bread.

• The timeline of toast: The first electric toaster was made in 1893, 35 years before sliced bread was sold commercially. For years, toaster-owners had to do the backbreaking labor of using a bread knife (the horror!). In 1926, the pop-up mechanism made its debut, and the appliances became a product for households, not just adventurous restaurants. Two years later, a commercial bread slicing machine hit the market. Sliced Wonder Bread hit the market two years later, and we've had the pre-sliced, plastic-wrapped white bread ever since.

• Speaking of Wonder Bread, it received an estimated $4.3 million worth of ad exposure in Talladega Nights without paying a cent. The estimation, printed in AdAge, comes from sponsorship measurement firm Joyce Julius & Associates. 

• In 1943, slice bread was banned due to wartime conservation measures as it used more wax paper and required metal slicing blades. After just two months, the ban was reversed and the New York Times ran a headline that started with "Sliced Bread Put Back on Sale; Housewives' Thumbs Safe Again."

• The Brave Little Toaster was seriously considered for the top award at the 1988 Sundance Film Festival, but judges told director Jerry Rees that they didn't want to give it to an animated film out of fear that people would not take the festival seriously. Rees recounts the story 44 minutes into this interview.

• The flavor difference between toast and bread is the result of the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that produces a shockingly wide, delicious range of flavors. You enjoy the Maillard reaction when you eat browned foods— like roasted coffee beans, the crust of baked goods, toasted marshmallows, roasted nuts, seared steaks, and more.