The word itself was not used to refer to a type of bread until apparently 1920, but what is now known as “baguette” may have existed well before that. Though the baguette today is often considered one of the symbols of French culture viewed from abroad, the association of France with long loaves predates any mention of it. Long, if wide, loaves had been made since the time of Louis XIV, long thin ones since the mid-eighteenth century and in fact by the nineteenth century some were far longer than the baguette: “loaves of bread six feet long that look like crowbars!” (1862); “Housemaids were hurrying homewards with their purchases for various Gallic breakfasts, and the long sticks of bread, a yard or two…