Sunday, December 27, 2009
Luxury, Tithing and Carbon Footprint.
I have a new definition of "luxury" these days. Luxury is making bread often enough to intentionally give ten percent of it to the local wildlife. On purpose. Luxury is taking part of a loaf of bread I only baked four days ago and throwing it to the birds, squirrels, ducks and deer.
I can go back to sharing some of my bounty, tithing if you will. Instead of handing it to some church that is only likely to use my money to tell people what they CANNOT do, I can return something healthy to the world to help nurture and grow the world from whence my bounty came. Tithing is helping the world and all of God's creatures, not just the upright, bipedal ones.
Minimizing my carbon footprint means the gift of luxury, the cycle of life. Giving something back instead of just taking all the time.
I've wanted a bread machine for years, but I'd not really considered what it could mean in the bigger picture. I wanted it because it would mean less work for me to have it, just push a button and fresh bread on demand without all the time involved, plus I don't have to heat up a whole oven for a single loaf of bread. So I'm saving money all the way around.
For years I've been bitching about the fact that a fresh loaf of bread cost a nickel in 1905 and now a century later is three dollars for something that is already several days old by the time I take out a slice out of the plastic bag and it's traveled hundreds of miles to get to me. In 1905 the ingredients were planted, harvested, ground and made into bread by hand. From there the fresh loaves were usually placed into the window ready for sale, by the same hands that made them, and when sold, were placed into a bag by those same hands. By the time I cut into the loaf at home, the bread was still fresh. Making my own at home made it even fresher. A bit more expensive because of my hard work, but it was much a labor of love.
Over many years between then and now I kept on making my own bread whenever I could because having grown up in a house where fresh bread was a regular commodity and the smell of it baking brings back good memories it was well worth the work. Machinery however replaced all the hard working hands between planting and my table, and I can go into the supermarket and get a loaf of bread that has never been touched by human hands. Machines were supposed to cut costs and improve our life by making things easier and cheaper.
Easier and cheaper? Three dollars? What? Plus the fresh made bread a century ago was made with very few ingredients and NO man made chemicals, fillers, preservatives or whatever else goes into it these days. It's made with ingredients that were shipped hundreds or more miles to be made into bread. It's made by machines, packaged, shipped, even sliced all by machines.
So I make my own when I can, but more and more the time and effort is outside my energy and time level. It's the remembering to punch the dough down, let it rise, do it again and so forth. I know that sounds like a cop out, but given what I'm recovering from, I'm just not ready for the demands making a loaf of bread once a week or so is more than I'm ready for right now.
A bread machine, I put everything in, press some buttons and walk away. When it beeps, the bread is done. And it doesn't have much, or if I buy fully organic ingredients, any artificial ingredients. Plus I can, while it's cooling, slice off a bit, give it a touch of butter and savor the taste right then. No fuss, muss or bother, and it's healthy for me.
So it's kind of a win/win/win situation all the way around. Cheaper, healthier, easier, fresher bread? How can I go wrong. So it dawned on me that giving something back just kinda completes the cycle of life here by nurturing nature some. And you know, that feels good to me. Being part Amerind and having gotten a flavor for the way my ancestors lived the land, giving something back really appeals to me. Plus there's a certain irony, even perhaps justice in feeding bread to the world around me that is fresher than a loaf I could buy in the store.
Because I know that from the time it comes out of the ovens, cools, gets put in bags, loaded onto trays, stacked on carts, loaded into trucks, shipped to the distributer, unloaded and then loaded onto other trucks, shipped to stores, rolled into the store, and finally makes it onto shelves it's already at least four days old. So when I buy it and take it home it's already older than what I'm giving back to the world, so I kinda like that.