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In case you're unfamiliar with the question, comedian Steve Allen asked it constantly on the 50s TV game show "What's My Line?" in order to determine the nature of a product the guest's occupation might be identified with.

If it were yes, that would eliminate all items smaller than a breadbox.

Unless, it was actually a breadbox.

So how big is a breadbox?

Usually can fit at least two average size loaves of bread.

No 1950s kitchen was complete without one.

(On the far left - see how easily it fits in.)

Another question:

Do we need them today?

Well, yes and no.

Not especially for most store bought bread, since there's some  ingredients built in to keep them "fresh."

But for homemade bread, which is getting easier to make with various bread makers, or bread you buy fresh, why not.

Since they're designed to keep contents at room temperature, prolonging something called edible storage time.

As long as you have a lid loose enough to allow airflow, reducing condensation, which helps to prevent the formation of mold.

And if it dries without mold, you've got breadcrumbs.

It's all about preventing retrogradation

But even if it didn't do a thing, breadboxes, (whose origin is murky but we do know it came after the invention of bread and the box) have got a few things going for them.

They're relatively inexpensive.

Works for other things beside bread, like cake or anything you might have cluttering the counter, like an odd potato or corn muffin.

If you have a cat, or Jack Russell Terrier, they won't get into mischief.

Yes, breadboxes seem to be making something of a comeback these days.

We can only wonder what other lost items of "Kitchen Atlantis" might be returning.

J. Peterman


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