WHEN did slapping a couple of bits of bread and a wedge of cheese together become high art?

Mr F spotted a sign in Wenzel's in Uxbridge which read, 'Our bread is hand moulded and baked daily in our local craft bakery', and an amused reader emailed to say that fast food chain Subway is advertising for staff, calling them 'sandwich artists'.

Bread is actually the most comforting of foods, isn't it? I love it all; from the nutty granaries and doughy sliced whites to the homely cottage loaves or conker-coloured plaits we used to take to Sunday school for harvest festival.

Then there's naan, ciabatta and pitta breads. Ooh, and toast with marmalade or Marmite.

I still remember the delicious smell of barbecuing bread when my mum held the toasting fork perilously close to the spitting coals. I even like bread sauce with my nutroast at Christmas, though none of the turkey eaters ever touch it.

Maybe there's always been an art culture around bread, with Oscars for the best bread-based works.

Actually, 20 years ago there was a BBC sitcom called Bread,

written by Carla Lane, so that would have been in with a chance.

On the music side there's Paul McCartney's Yeast-erday, and maybe Meat Loaf was persuaded to change his first name to Seedy when he sang Bap out of Hell?

Oldies (like me) will remember the band Bread, whose best known hit was Make It With You. Looking afresh, I now think they must have been referring to kneading a bit of dough, rather than anything more risqué.

The bread themes just keep on coming. Even Valentine's Day didn't give me a break: 'Love at First Bite for Gregg's sweethearts' was the headline for a story about the Glasgow bakery where Craig and Stacey fell for each other. I kid you not - Google it!

The pair now plan to marry in Florida in October, with Gregg's providing the cake for their big day. That'll be some bun fight. * Still bread-obsessed and hungry for facts, I've just discovered that, after years of delivering yeast (and eggs) to local families so they could bake their own bread, John Gregg opened his first small bakery in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951.

Did it take him that long to discover you also needed flour?