Vintage Ad: Bite-Sized Bread Model

In 1942, Quality Bakers of America commissioned artist Ellen Segner to develop an identity for their new Sunbeam Bread. She was a good choice — a well-known illustrator who had painted all the characters in the iconic 1950s Dick and Jane books.

Marilyn Kille remembers modeling for the Miss Sunbeam character when she was 5. She recalls being intimidated by the photographer who kept disappearing beneath the black hood of his studio camera. She was placed on a tall stool and directed to take a slice of bread from a tray on her left. She was to then take one bite from a specified corner and, the photograph taken, let it fall into a trash bin on her right.

Vintage Sunbeam Bread ad featuring the girl biting a piece of bread
A Sunbeam Bread ad that ran in the Post’s May 23, 1953 issue. (Click to see a larger version.)

She followed the instruction but grew agitated the longer the session continued. Tears welled up in her eyes and soon ran down her face. Everything stopped. When the staff asked her what was wrong, she wouldn’t answer. The photographer decided he had enough photos and called an end to the session.

If you were a child in those years, you might remember being admonished never to waste food; there were “children starving in China,” after all. Taking those warnings to heart, Kille was crying because of the growing pile of discarded bread. She would surely be punished for wasting food and depriving all those hungry Chinese children.

This article is featured in the September/October 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Bread Pudding Recipes for Mardi Gras

If you can overlook the gossip on the farmer’s wife in this 1913 article, you’ll get to the good stuff. Bread puddings made with “butter the size of an egg” and a savory dessert featuring cheese, bread crumbs, and onion juice — yum!

Old Bread in New Puddings

Originally published in Country Gentleman, June 28, 1913

Every housewife knows how rapidly bread scraps accumulate and the careful housewife knows also that if not looked after they form one of the small leaks in the household management. They are too small to be considered by some, for recently a farmer’s wife who prides herself in her culinary ability remarked in our hearing: “Oh, I just throw my stale bread to the chickens. We do not care for puddings and things made with bread.” And we happen to know that she feeds her family daily on pie and cake and that they all have stomach trouble of one kind or another and are more or less anemic.

It seems to us that if, instead of the inevitable pie and cake so constantly served on some farm tables, the farm housewife, when concocting desserts for her family, would oftener utilize some of the fragments of bread that usually go to waste, in connection with the abundant milk and eggs always to be had on the farm, there would be better nourished bodies and less stomach trouble, and consequently fewer doctor bills.

In the first place, it is seldom necessary to have a quantity of old bread on hand, even in a small family. A half-loaf may be freshened by being placed in a hot oven for 10 minutes, and it will be more digestible than when first baked. The outside will be crisp and crusty, which is an improvement rather than otherwise.

Most people are familiar with the breakfast dish known as fried toast—slices of stale bread dipped in beaten egg and milk and browned on a griddle. We find the egg superfluous, however, just dipping the slice quickly in sweet milk and placing it at once on the hot, buttered griddle, frying slowly until it browns and loosens easily before turning. If fried too quickly it will be soft and sticky instead of crisp. Serve with butter and sirup.

All clean bread scraps should be thoroughly dried in the oven without being browned, and then put in a tight can kept for the purpose. They are then ready for many things. Pulverized they are fully equal to cracker crumbs for breading chops, oysters, eggplant and croquettes, and are also available for other things if soaked in cold water a moment and then pressed dry.

Stale bread cut in small squares and lightly browned in the oven — crofitons — are a fine addition to soup and an excellent substitute for crackers when eaten with butter and milk. Broken up and eaten with sugar and cream they form the breakfast dish known as “rusks” in New England and are fully as palatable and nourishing as many of the commercial breakfast foods.

About the only use some housekeepers can devise for stale bread is the homely bread pudding. We use the word “homely” advisedly, for bread pudding as it is made in the average household is neither sightly nor palatable, and even when well made, if it is always the same, it grows monotonous; but there are so many possibilities, even in bread puddings, for the ingenious cook who takes a little trouble that there is no excuse for lack of variety in that direction.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bake until set, then cover with a meringue of the whites of two eggs and two tablespoonfuls of sugar, and brown. Serve cold with cream or a cornstarch sauce.

Prune Pudding

Cook three cupfuls of prunes as for the table, sweetening very slightly, drain off the juice, remove the stones and sprinkle the prunes with lemon juice.

Mix and pour in a pudding pan, then drop in the prunes evenly and bake until set. Serve hot or cold with cream or a sauce made of the prune juice heated and thickened.

Apricot Pudding

Pour one pint of hot milk over one quart of stale crumbs, add one tablespoonful of butter and soak half an hour.

Stir 2 beaten eggs, 1 cupful of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoonful each of salt and cinnamon into the milk and crumbs, then add half a can of apricots or peaches — drained from their juice and cut in pieces. Pour in a buttered mold and cook in boiling water 2 hours. The mold may be set in a steamer over hot water.

Serve cold with cream, or hot with sauce made of the fruit sirup, heated and thickened with cornstarch, and 1 tablespoonful of butter

Brown Betty

The dried bread may be used, first being soaked and then pressed as dry as possible.

The proportions are one part crumbs to two of apples, either chopped or sliced.

Put alternately a layer of apples, sugar, cinnamon, and bits of butter, and then one of crumbs in a buttered pudding pan until it is full, a layer of crumbs being on top. Add a little water unless apples are very juicy, and bake for an hour in a steady oven, removing the cover during the last 15 minutes. Serve cold with cream.

Rhubarb Betty Is Also Good

Mix one-fourth cupful of melted butter with two cupfuls of solidly packed soft crumbs.

Cut one pound of rhubarb in small pieces without peeling. Butter a pudding pan, put in a layer of rhubarb, a dozen seeded raisins, a grating of lemon peel and a few drops of juice. Scatter sugar liberally, then a layer of crumbs, and so on until everything is used. Cover the dish and bake an hour, removing the cover during the last 15 minutes so that the crumbs on top may brown.

Queen of Puddings

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, add to the milk, crumbs, and salt, and bake until firm.

Then spread over the top the contents of a can of strawberries drained from their juice — or the fresh crushed and sugared fruit in season. Over this spread a meringue of the whites of four eggs beaten with two tablespoonfuls of sugar. Brown and serve cold with cream.

Any other fruit fresh or canned may be used.

Plain Bread Pudding

It is good eaten cold with cream or hot with a sweet sauce. A handful of raisins or some jelly spread over the top when eaten with cream is an improvement.

Pudding cake
Children’s Plum Pudding (Country Gentleman)

Children’s Plum Pudding

Beat the egg and mix all the ingredients. Bake one hour in a slow oven until firm and serve hot with a sweet liquid sauce.

Cornmeal Pudding

Two cupfuls of cornbread crumbs soaked one hour in one quart of sweet milk. Add three beaten eggs, three table- spoonfuls of sugar, a pinch of salt, a little grated nutmeg or cinnamon if preferred. Bake an hour in a moderate oven.

Cheese Custard with Bread Sauce

Beat the eggs slightly and add the remaining ingredients. Turn into buttered timbale molds, set in pan of hot water and bake until brown. Remove to hot platter and cover with the following bread sauce:

Cook ingredients 25 minutes. Pour over the cheese custard and sprinkle with the coarse crumbs browned in a frying pan in about a tablespoonful of butter.

Article clipping
Read “Old Bread in New Puddings” by Elisabeth Irving. Published June 28, 1913 in Country Gentleman.

Let’s Brunch!

While the origins of the meal remain a mystery, the word “brunch” first appeared in print in an 1895 article for Hunter’s Weekly. In “Brunch: A Plea,” British writer Guy Beringer proposed an alternative to the heavy post-church fare of the day, in favor of a lighter mid-morning meal.

“Why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee?” Beringer suggested. “Brunch is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. … It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

More than a century later, Beringer would be happy with the way America embraced and elevated the culinary hybrid to an art form — a tradition treasured by the hungry (and the hungover).

“At brunch, the last thing you want is last-minute fuss,” says Ellie Krieger. “Basically, these recipes can be prepped in advance.”

To keep it light, think alternatives. “For breakfast, people lean on traditional bacon and sausage,” says Krieger. “Instead try Canadian bacon which delivers the same smoky pork flavor, but is a much leaner option.”

As for presentation, Krieger suggests an inexpensive, edible tablescape. “Pick up fresh, colorful spring vegetables and herbs at the farmers market,” Krieger says. “A bunch of fresh mint in a simple vase or untrimmed radishes on a plate makes an elegant centerpiece.”

All recipes courtesy Ellie Krieger.

Spicy Egg and Avocado Wrap

(Makes 4 servings)



Place eggs in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 9 minutes. Remove from heat, rinse with cold water and peel. Remove yolks from 4 of the eggs and discard yolks. Slice remaining egg whites and whole eggs into 1/4-inch slices.
Lay piece of lettuce leaf over center of each wrap bread. Top each with avocado, sliced eggs, tomato, and cucumber. Sprinkle with chili sauce and season with salt and pepper. Fold one side of bread about 2 inches over filling to form pocket and roll into wrap. Eat immediately or cover in foil and store in refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Nutritional Info

Per Serving (1 wrap)

Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Honey Walnut Spread
Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Honey Walnut Spread
(Photo by Alexandra Grablewski)

Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Honey-Walnut Spread

(Makes 4 servings)



Toast walnuts in dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly, then chop them finely. In small bowl, add chopped walnuts to yogurt and honey and stir until well combined. Spread will keep in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 3 days. Just stir well before using. When ready to serve, toast bread and cut fruit into 1/4–inch slices. Spread about 1 tablespoon of walnut spread onto each piece of bread. Top each piece with few slices of fruit. Eat immediately.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving (2 pieces)

Egg in a Basket with Smoked Turkey and Asparagus
Egg in a Basket with Smoked Turkey and Asparagus
(Photo by Alexandra Grablewski)

Egg in a Basket with Smoked Turkey and Asparagus

(Makes 4 servings)



Place asparagus in steamer basket over pot of boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Chop asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with melted butter. Using 3-inch cookie cutter, cut hole in center of each slice of bread; reserve cutouts.

Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Cook turkey slices until browned around edges, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until it is heated through, about 2 minutes, then season with pepper. Transfer mixture to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Place 2 bread slices and cutouts in same skillet and crack one egg into hole of each slice. Cook until egg whites are set and bread is toasted on underside, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, flip bread/egg slices and cutouts and cook additional 1 minute. Transfer bread/egg pieces to individual plates. Repeat with remaining bread slices and cutouts. Top each one with 1/4 of turkey-asparagus mixture. Arrange cutouts on each plate.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving (1 egg in a basket with  ½ cup asparagus-turkey topping and 1 bread cutout)