I am trying to answer a question from a library patron who remembers the entire phrase, "bread is" that she and her friends used in the 1960s. She accepts that "bread" was used for money or "dough," another slang word. However she remembers use of the entire phrase, "bread is."
According to my uncle, who was a university student in the 1960s, "bread is" is a shortened form of the old proverb, "Bread is the staff of life."
According to the Facts On File Dictionary of Proverbs, this proverb was first recorded in 1638.
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In early ages of america. Conducting business or providing a service was purely for food, apparently bread. Hence the term bread-winner, also money had been very synonymous to bread, meat or dough. But the bread is doesn't seem to be found much anywhere.