So last night on Twitter, Lime asked about brown bread in a can. Being a smartass, I tweeted a picture of the can I happened to have in my cupboard.
Imagine my surprise when I got a whole lot of “what the hell is that?” in return. I had no idea brown bread in a can was a New England thing. That led to the following conversation with my husband…
Me: “How would you describe brown bread in a can?”
Him: “Brown. Comes in a can.”
Him: “No problem.”
Me: “You know, if Moxie was a bread, it would be brown bread in a can.”
Him: “If they’ve never seen brown bread in a can, they probably haven’t had Moxie.”
New Englanders believe Moxie (one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in American) to be either the Yankee equivalent of Odin’s mead or the most foul liquid ever concocted in a taste-test lab.There’s no “Sure, if you don’t have Coke” middle ground with Moxie. (And, ohmigod, it’s nasty.)
Anyway, back to brown bread in a can. It’s not really bread. Not really cake. Spongy, but more dense than spongecake. While I’m sure there are rogue New Englanders out there, it’s traditionally eaten with baked beans. It’s not sweet. It’s actually dark and a little bitter. It comes out of the can just like cranberry sauce (with the handy can markings to act as cutting guides and everything).
Then you either heat it, then butter it as you slice it. Or you can slice it, slap some butter on it and put it in the microwave or in the toaster oven.
Ingredients: Water, whole wheat flour, molasses, dextrose, rye flour, whey, degerminated yellow corn meal, baking soda, buttermilk, salt, and corn oil. I’ve never seen it not in a can, and I’m pretty sure if somebody tried it, it would just get dry and crumbly. Plus then it wouldn’t be, you know, brown bread in a can.
And since the baked beans come in a can and the brown bread comes in a can, both can be easily heated in campfire coals. So, when the apocalypse comes and the rest of the country’s eating a steady diet of Spam, New Englanders will be having baked beans and brown bread for dinner. But no Moxie. I’d throw myself to the zombies before I drank Moxie.
(Disclaimer: Brown bread in a can is as gross as Moxie, actually. My teen likes it and it’s handy for him to take to living history events for the potluck. A simmering cauldron of baked beans is beyond his current abilities, but he can bring the bread. But, really, it’s pretty gross. I recommend plain old bread and butter with your beans.)