On The Beat 2/16/16

The bread and milk mystery

By Jim Bucher

People still to this day come up to me and say, “Hey Buch, loved when you worked at Channel 2 out in the snow and cold covering the event live on TV.” Hours on end, I and other reporter types would file our reports every 10 minutes or so. It would go something like this:

“We now go live to Troy where our Jim Bucher is standing by live. (I guess as opposed to dead.) Jim what’s happening up your way?”

“Well, it’s still snowing. Back to you.”

It was kind of redundant, if I do say so myself. One of my favorite things to do is get stuck reading winter weather driving tips. As if you were talking to people who moved here from California in the past ten minutes.

“Turn your wipers on, make sure your tires are inflated to proper levels,” I would say. “Always put sand bags in your trunk for traction etc. etc.”

One time I didn’t have anything worth-while to say other than, “People, it’s Ohio. You should know how to drive in all types of weather. Use common sense.” Got in trouble for that one because I was talking down to the viewer. As if asking people to turn on their wipers wasn’t dumb enough.

But the thing that absolutely floored me was this one question: When accumulating snow is predicted, why do we jet off to the store and buy as much bread and milk as we can? I needed to get to the bottom of this craziness.

So, a little Internet surfing revealed what I think started it all. And again, it makes no sense.

If you think about it too hard your head will explode. I mean, for the most part we do get our fair share of snow in Dayton and the Miami Valley, but not enough to snow us in for days where we can’t make toast or we run out of milk for our cereal.

The big blizzard of 2016 a couple weeks back was perfect example. The national news network’s footage included grocery stores with well-stocked shelves except for bread and milk.

Don’t know about you, but we always have a loaf of bread in the freezer just in case our family has an insatiable appetite for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

My grocer friends tell me other “must get before the storm hits” items include eggs, toilet paper, booze, snack foods and ice cream.

So, where did the B&M (bread and milk) madness come from? According to AccuWeather.com, we might be able to thank a particular region for at least some of it.

“It appears that New Englanders can take credit for the purchasing of milk and bread prior to the storm,” the site reports. “It was the monumental blizzard in 1978 that trapped many in homes for weeks that gets at least some credit for the current tradition.”

Wow, I remember that, being trapped indoors for a few days, but don’t recall eating loaves of bread and drinking gallons of milk ’til the snow melted. Press reports out of a Pittsburgh, PA newspaper in 1950 during one of the city’s worst snow storms referenced milk as “the one shortage that has hit all sections” and bread “being doled out in some stores.”

Apparently this story hit the national news wires, picked up by publications all over the country and sort of stuck. The people of Pittsburgh must know something we didn’t.

It doesn’t appear to make much sense, given that one of the major problems in many storms is the loss of power. And that’s a bad thing when it comes to keeping milk and eggs fresh, though Mother Nature could lend a hand if said items are simply placed in the snow.

But back to the bread. Don’t most folks keep a loaf or two in the freezer for just such an emergency? With modern snow removing equipment most roadways are cleared in a few hours so you can get our and to the store for your carb fix.

I mean really, how much bread can one person eat?

And on another subject, why do we procrastinate and wait until the first flakes fly to buy salt, snow shovels and the like?

And where are your snow shovels from past winters here in the buckeye state?

So, some advice from your favorite Dayton City Paper columnist (he says with tongue firmly planted in cheek)—the next time a snow storm is predicted?

Just order a pizza!

Cheers!

Buch

For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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