IN 1771, TOBIAS Smollett’s hero Humphry Clinker described London bread (by implication the most modern) as “a deleterious paste, mixed up with chalk, alum, and bone-ashes; insipid to the taste, and destructive to the constitution”. The people, he said, knew this bread was adulterated, but they loved its whiteness. “Thus they sacrifice their taste and their health, and the lives of their tender infants, to a most absurd gratification of a mis-judging eye; and the miller, or the baker, is obliged to poison them and their families, in order to live by his profession.”

Fast forward 237 years, change ...


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