Bread Bags--Iowa's New Cultural Icon?

Jan 23, 2015

In her State of the Union response, freshman Senator Joni Ernst repeated an anecdote from her victory speech evoking her "down-home" upbringing.

"You see growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry. But I was never embarrassed because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet."

The anecdote became a meme across the internet with a hashtag, altered photos and even a t-shirt from Raygun stating "Iowa! You say bread aisle, we say shoe store!"

Kyle Munson, Iowa columnist for the Des Moines Register, says Ernst might have hit the salt-of-the-earth message a bit too hard.

"She had spent some time crafting her folksy rural image plowing the fields and working the morning biscuit line at Hardy's, and then mentions the bread bags, and okay, that's fine, and then she lingered on that for yet another beat and then went into this vivid scene of this bus full. She kept drawing it out so I thought it was a bit much, and it definitely then rippled across the internet."

Regardless of how the message was received, Iowans across the state, including host Ben Kieffer, are reminiscing on their own breadbag days.

On this News Buzz segment of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Munson and his mother about the breadbag mania.