The Toast of Hollywood

Back in the day before we had all kinds of  everything in the way of delicious healthy options like low carb pita bread and breads made of all sorts of things like rice or quinoa, there was Hollywood Diet Bread. Yet another product I remember my mother buying, when I was a kid. I had no idea that it had “eight fresh vegetable flours” in it or what that really means (seriously, flour made of lettuce? of celery? huh?). I remember that it was very thin and had sesame seeds on the outside.

The large ad on your left is from 1964 and the lady in the white Rolls Royce convertible who is eating (rather precariously) on the go is Eleanor Day, the inventor of Hollywood Diet Bread. An inspired name, because it evokes glamor and movie star svelteness and – yes, the idea that maybe you too could ride around in a white Rolls Royce convertible, looking like an attractive model in a fur coat, all the while eating a half grapefruit (I think that’s what she has there, along with coffee and tomato soup).

The little ad on the right is from 1954, and contains the catchy tag line “It’s the Toast of Hollywood!” It was originally called Hollywood Special Formula Bread (or sometimes Hollywood Special Formula LIGHT Bread). A newspaper ad from 1954 describes the special ingredients as being “eight different waterfree vegetable flours” – I guess they mean dehydrated vegetables.

In 1962 the FTC investigated the National Bakers Services company that made the bread, saying that the only reason it was fewer calories than normal bread was because it was sliced very thinly. There were diet booklets and a Diet Control Plan written, ostensibly, by Eleanor Day (though the trademark information suggests that she was, like Betty Crocker, a creation of the manufacturers`imagination). Eleanor naturally thought that your diet plan needed to include her bread at every meal. My mother just made sandwiches with it, though.

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