First Taste of White Bread

That evening, my Dad had bought some "Canadian sliced white bread", which was something new for us, which he made extra special by buttering the bread and sprinkling sugar on top... yum, it was good. The next morning we boarded another train, which was beautiful, and we arrived in Orillia on April 1, 1953 on a lovely sunny day. Orillia has been home for the past 60 years. I married my wonderful husband (who landed at Pier 21 in 1952) in 1958 and we had three beautiful children starting in 1959. Canada is my home, my life. I am so happy that my father chose Canada as our home... thank you dad!..."
- Angela Bassoriello
...At first the soft white sliced bread tasted like cake to me, but after a few days it seemed more like cotton batting and we quickly grew tired of it. We longed for good hearty German rye bread, but it was nowhere to be found..."
- Christine Gerth
...Periodically, my father would come back and it was on one of these occasions that I told him that we were very hungry. He took both of us by the hand and went to a small kiosk that sold foods. He bought us only bread - a simple white, sliced loaf,- because as he only spoke Italian, he was not able to ask for anything else. I hungrily bit into the slice that was offered and I got the first shock in this new country : the bread was sweet, soft and it stuck to my palate. It was awful! I was used to something totally different. I remember vividly how I cried and said to my father" I don't want to live in this new place because I hate the bread." My father wisely commented that we would have to get used to many new things in this country and that we would be staying for a long time..."
- Angelina Crosdale
...When we got off the ship and went through the Immigration Office, we took the train to Ottawa. One thing I can smell even today was the Wonder Sliced Bread, which was really fresh and milk white (today we can only dream of this fresh smell)..."
- Vincenza Concettina Cuffaro
...We faced a two day train ride and somehow my mother found out where she could buy bread and butter and I guess cold cuts, to last us on the way. I can’t recall eating in any diner, so we must have existed on whatever she bought. One thing I do remember is mother being so surprised at the low cost of the food. White bread, always a luxury at home, and butter, so cheap! For once she could really spread it on thick, and she did! Imagine our disappointment when that butter turned out to be salty and bread insipid. We took one bit and gagged - SALTED BUTTER! However, hunger and needs must and before we reached Montreal, bread and butter, salty, tasteless or not, were consumed..."
- Elizabeth Adelheit Dambrosio
...In Montreal, while waiting for the Toronto train connection, my sister and I wondered around the station where we bought a loaf of bread. Having been brought up with hard crusty bread we found the loaf we bought extremely soft with a strange smell that has remained with us ever since. We never ate that bread nor have we ever consumed that bread since our settling in Canada..."
- Frank Medoro
...I remember the first time I had Canadian bread. I rolled it up and tried to bounce it. It sure was not the crunchy Italian bread I knew. Basically, the food on the train was terrible. They brought us some spaghetti but it tasted like the stuff from the can. I played cards and looked out the window..."
- Adolph Di Mambro
..For our train trip, we were given ten dollars per person to get us to our destination, enough to buy that pure soft cottony white bread we had never seen before. You could buy a whole loaf for 12 cents and it was already sliced. Sweet, rich, Carnation milk from a can washed it down. In Germany, we seldom had cream. This, our first meal in Canada, was a sumptuous feast..."
- Ernest Hochhalter
...Before boarding the train, my mother went to a nearby convenience store to purchase some food. Everything was written in English, which made identifying items very difficult. My mother decided on a loaf of white sliced bread, a can of sardines and a jar of strawberry jam. Being accustomed to the Italian crusty bread, my mother did not like the food she had purchased and decided to go to the Dining Car for pasta. The dish of spaghetti with ketchup she was served was less than appealing to her palate..."
- Cathy Kulos writing of her mother Angela Bianchini
...On Oct 7, 1938, we arrived at Pier 21. They took us into a large room where we were given a meal. My brother still talks about the wonderful soft white bread buns that were served – they were so delicious. We had only ever had rye bread or whole wheat bread so this was a new experience for us..."
- Gerda Kiel
...On the train, we were given Franco American Spaghetti and Blue Bonnet sliced white bread, that my brother called SPONGE. He refused to eat and my mom didn’t know what to do for us..."
- Ann Colacicco
...I know it was hard for most of us coming from a strictly rationed country to adjust to all that lovely Canadian food. I still can taste my first piece of white bread form Morden’s bakeshop..."
- Marion Campbell
...I remember the seas were extremely rough and no one was eating but I was having fun running around as the ship was going up and down. When we passed customs and boarded the train they gave us two loafs of bread. Not knowing what it was I used it to play accordion as it was soft and flexible..."
- George Comisso
...Eventually the Customs and Immigration people were done processing us and we were free to leave the area. In a concession within the complex we bought and ate our first meal in our new home. I will never forget it, a glass bottle of milk, a loaf of white Wonder bread in the wax paper package with the big dots on it and a can of Spork. I loved it..."
- Andy Alfoldy
...We were on the train headed for our two days train ride to Toronto. When the server came around with this bread, we didn't know what to think. We surely thought we would not be able to swallow it since we couldn't crunch it in our teech. We thought it may get stuck in our throat!..."
- Maria D'Ambrosio
...We were the only ones on the ship not ill. I remember the terrible bread they gave us on the train and wondered if we had to eat this forever..."
- Mary Russo Alati
...Actually I already know a few words. When a man comes around selling food I just say, "Ham sandvits!" and he gives me a little packet with two pieces of white bread with meat in between. It’s very tasty. Then I say, "Tank you." ..."
- from the diary of 9 year old Kaarina Brooks
...They went to buy bread. No one was able to speak English, and the store owner didn¹t speak Italian. They wanted to buy a loaf of sliced bread, but they didn¹t know how much it cost. So dad got the others to put all their pocket change in his two hands. Dad held it up to the owner, who gingerly picked out a dime. Dad ate the bread, but he didn¹t like it. He thought that if all bread was this bad in Toronto, he would go back to Italy..."
- Salvatore Caruso
...I felt wonderful to be in a new country. I ate the white bread and thought it was the most beautiful taste I ever had..."
- Bruno Battaglia
...I have no recollection of the trip over, but one bit of definite feedback I got years to come was of the Cotton Bread (Pumpulileipa), as a reference to the unbelievably fluty texture of the white Canadian bread, in comparison to Finnish rye bread..."
- Matti Ensio
...On the train they served us fresh wonder bread, today its beautiful in 1954 I took a slice squeezed it and said look mom it's not cooked. We were on the train for 2 days from Halifax to Windsor via Montreal. When the train stopped my godmother handed us a luggage, when we opened it there was a large loaf of Italian bread, 2 L wine, and a very large chicken stuffed like a turkey, which we shared with our friends that we made on the boat..."
- Mary Carriero
...We loved the taste of Canadian white bread, sliced at that! It tasted like cake to us and it was the first of many pleasant surprises..."
- Lina Douwsma
...At the train station my mom was told to buy some bread and a can of meat. We were shocked at the soft, sweet ‘bread’ and started to wonder why my father had brought us to this strange land with an unusual language and definitely a different idea of good food..."
- Maria Teresa DiGiandomenico
...While we struggled with trying to recognize the difference between nickels, dimes, and quarters we were shocked to discover that we just couldn't get the type of food we would get for a long train trip back home. The bread was soft and spongy and packed in wax paper, the butter was all salty, there was only soft process cheese, instead of smoked and cured hard sausage they only had what they called baloney and peanut butter, and many other novelties that we didn't even understand. Welcome to Canada..."
- Gerhard Eichel
...We gazed in delighted disbelief and it got even better when the stewards placed baskets of crisp, fresh rolls and butter, real butter not greasy wartime margarine in front of us. A concerted, ecstatic murmur echoed around the room “Oh, white bread and butter.” It was the first white bread we had seen in six years. Wartime bread was grey and heavy and tasted like cardboard. Everything here was delicious. The slice of roast beef on my plate looked as big as a whole month’s meat ration. “I’ll never eat all of that”, I thought – but I did..."
- Myra D. Ennis

Cake? Cotton? Soft? Doughy? Tell us about your first taste of Canadian White bread.