On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake up a Treat with Adam Matthew Digital

29 August 2019

Cultural Studies | History

Allow me to make something clear: I will find any excuse to treat myself to baked goods. Cake, bread, pastries, and biscuits, I love the lot, and the return of the Great British Bake Off to our TV screens this week was as good an excuse as any to tuck in. One of my favourite parts of the show has always been the food history segments in the later episodes because of the unusual facts they share. After the show, it wasn’t only angel slices I was hungry for.

While exploring our J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America collection, I encountered a beautifully illustrated booklet published in 1957 called Breads of Many Lands by Clara Gebhard Snyder which immediately took my eye. Not only does it include various recipes for breads from all over the world, but it also includes handy bread-baking hints and tips, such as timesavers and how to care for breads after baking.

Breads of Many Lands (c) J. Walter Thompson. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Breads of Many Lands is currently open access until 30th September 2019. Please click the image to view the document.

Food is a universal language. In this language, the word  Bread is perhaps best known. […] In every part of the world people eat some form of bread.’ – Clara Gebhard Snyder.

As much as the beginning of the introduction to this booklet may seem to state the obvious, I found its message inspiring and I was compelled to learn more. I’m not much of a baker myself but, in the spirit of Bake Off and despite it not being bread week, I decided to take part in my own technical challenge.

From Viennese Striesels and Grecian Feast Breads, to the Russian Kulich and the English Sally Lunn, there was plenty of recipes for me to choose from. I decided to challenge myself with the Danish Coffee Twist, purely so I could wash my attempt down with a nice cuppa it turned out bad.

My first attempt at baking a Danish Coffee Twist. Photo (c) Matthew Thorpe-Coles.

What was the verdict? I wouldn’t say it was worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake (even if he does give them out like hot cakes these days!) but I don’t think I’d have been asked to leave the tent this week.

Breads of Many Lands is currently Open Access until 30th September 2019, so why not delve into the booklet yourself and try out some bakes of your own?

If you’re keen to explore more from the J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America collection please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for more information, including trail access and price enquires.

If you're interested in food history, we will soon be publishing our new Food and Drink in History collection. You can pre-register your interest in this collection here.

About the Author

Santino Prinzi

Santino Prinzi

Since joining Adam Matthew in October 2018 I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of fascinating projects. My academic background lies in English literature and creative writing, with a particular interest in Modernism, contemporary literature, and flash fiction.