The best images that go “viral” on Twitter or any other platform that demands attention are usually of the sort that trigger revulsion on a deeply-felt, almost-cellular level. This is what appears to be happening with the long bread, which I only saw today, because looking at Twitter on the weekends is bad for your mental health.
Here’s the bread in question, a picture of which was tweeted by self-identified former child star and current “comedian,” Josh Flitter. “can’t stop thinking about this horizontally cut bread,” he wrote. Many people—too many, in my opinion—agreed.
The bread is floppy, draped over two paper plates like a discarded shawl or something that was once alive and is now quite dead. It is disconcerting only because bread generally does not come like this; we are not accustomed to slicing a machine-baked loaf of Wonderbread horizontally in this fashion, because what does one do with a long slice of bread? Other individuals on Twitter expressed revulsion, and also explanations.
It appears the long bread is good for “le pain sandwich,” a Montreal specialty that is essentially a triple-decker sandwich in loaf form, filled with various meat salads, and covered in Cheese Whiz—a demented Buche de Noel that probably tastes good, even if it is horrifying to look at. Others suggested that the long bread would be useful for pinwheel sandwiches, a nightmarish presence on an appetizer spread, but one that would be vastly improved if the bread holding the thing together wasn’t a wrap, but actual bread.
The long bread exists for a reason, as these things always do. But I’d like to remind all the detractors of the long bread, who are bothered by the way it looks because of its length, that long bread already exists and proper due should be paid to the OG: a baguette, the ultimate and original long bread that everyone is conveniently ignoring for the sake of clout and laughs.
Sliced horizontally instead of vertically, a baguette (or any loaf that is generally longer than it is wide), is spiritually similar to the long bread in question. Make a hoagie that serves 20 on an extra-long loaf of Italian bread, or smear some garlic and butter between its halves and throw it in the oven. Long bread of this nature exists for a reason, and it is to serve at least 14 children at a birthday party at a bowling alley with no muss and relatively little fuss. Much like the length of this long loaf, the possibilities are seemingly endless.
Though the long sandwich bread calls to mind BuzzFeed’s stunt food journalism of the mid-2010s, like when they exploded a watermelon using only rubber bands, I think intrepid home cooks looking to go beyond sourdough could take on the task of making a Pullman loaf, slicing it on the horizon, and seeing where the imagination leads. Winter is here, baby, and depending on what state you call home, the vaccination is either expiring on shelves in your local CVS or being jabbed into the arms of frontline workers and the elderly via a haphazard rollout that is not as well-organized as it should be. It’s going to be a long couple of months, is what I’m saying. Get weird. Find (or make) and eat the long bread.