Rising Dough and Rising Tensions¹
It may seem a trivial thing, but in 18th-century France, bread became tied to both survival and national identity. According to Cuisine and Culture: A History of Food and People, bread became a key motivating factor in the French revolution. Author Linda Civitello writes, "Bread was considered a public service necessary to keep the people from rioting. Bakers, therefore, were public servants, so the police controlled all aspects of bread production."
Sylvia Neely's A Concise History of the French Revolution states, the average 18th-century worker spent half his daily wage on bread. When grain crops failed two years in a row (1788 and 1789), the price of bread shot up to 88 percent of his wages. Many of the working class blamed the resulting famine and economic instability of the ruling class.
The cause of the revolution was far more complicated than just bread, but it can be seen as an event very similar to what led up to the United States' Boston Tea Party.