Chip and pepper on rye

Sometimes, good news comes from truly surprising places.

In November, I was saddened by the news that KUB Bakery would be closing. The Ukrainian-Canadian bakery, founded in 1923, had been serving up their signature seedy rye bread for nearly a century.

I was raised in what was, for the most part, a KUB household (although technically we were a “whichever rye bread is on sale” household, so City Bread had a strong presence, too). It’s easy to take bread for granted. As an ancient staple food, it’s essential, but rarely exciting. It’s a bit like background music: maybe you don’t really notice it until it’s gone, but you sure notice its absence. To have the bread you were raised on disappear is truly sad.

So on Jan. 4, when the news dropped that KUB rye would be returning, I was thrilled. Who rescued it? Chip and Pepper.

I have to admit, I didn’t know who Chip and Pepper were. Chip and Pepper Foster, identical twins who hosted Chip and Pepper’s Cartoon Madness on NBC in the early ’90s, never graced my TV set (we were also a farmervision household, so without cable, my Saturday morning cartoon hosts were Beave and Buckley on channel 13).

I did see Chip and Pepper parodied and paid homage to on Netflix’s Saturday Morning All-Star Hits!, a delightfully odd comedy series from Saturday Night Live alum Kyle Mooney, who plays Skip and Traybor, identical twins inspired by Chip and Pepper who introduce a bizarre roster of cartoons like Strongimals and Lil’ Bruce. But I didn’t know they were based on real people, let alone Winnipeggers.

Well, now I know who Chip and Pepper are. They weren’t my childhood cartoon hosts, but they’re saving my childhood bread.

Published in Volume 77, Number 13 of The Uniter (January 5, 2023)

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