The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Am reading 6000 years of bread - very sobering

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slow_riser's picture
slow_riser

Am reading 6000 years of bread - very sobering

I am a history buff and a bread freak so when I found out about 6000 years of bread I ordered it immediately.

Every once in a while I am fortunate enough to read a book that radically changes my world view and this was one of them. The author is clearly a man of his time and makes some assumptions that any modern reader would find silly. All that said this book has blown my mind.

For my whole life I felt that our culture had become so removed from agrarian life that we had become recently stupid about our food. The use of dangerous pesticides and badly genetically modified crops seemed like the act of a supermarket society out of touch with basic farming principles.

Now I know that agrarian stupidity has raised its big dumb hungry head for thousands of years. Precious knowledge about plowing, crop rotation and problems like ergot have been found and lost repeatedly over the ages. Thousands and thousands of people have perished needlessly and in the most horrible fashion.

Those that labored to produce food were all vilified and persecuted. Many of the wars that plagued our ancestors could have been prevented with a little agrarian knowledge. All of those wars were ultimately won by whoever had the most bread.

It is a wonder the human race has survived at all.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I also have a copy of 6000 years of bread.  It makes one want to approach bread and bread making with reverence.  (And makes the stuff that passes for bread nowadays seem heretical!)  It makes my favorite nickname for bread ring ever more true: Bread is the Staff of Life.

SOL

rainbowelp's picture
rainbowelp

I was just thinking about the "Staff of LIfe" yesterday. I've finally begun baking every day. And soon I'm going to deliver a loaf a day. It may be to friends, it may be to people who I do business with, it may be to perfect strangers or simply someone who I've had an interaction with during the day. I'll keep it in my car or at my side until it's gone.

Perhaps it will feed a homeless person, or their dog for the day. Perhaps it will be smothered with jam as toast tomorrow. Perhaps it will be recognized for what it is, simply, and quite simply, The Staff of Life. We'll see how it goes. 

Terry

Ramona's picture
Ramona

I haven't read this book, but it is easy to see that it isn't from stupidity that our food supply is corrupt, it is from greed.  Hormones are given to cows, so they produce more milk.  Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, etc. are used instead of crop rotation, natural fertilizers, using helpful bugs to get rid of harmful ones, etc. because it cost less and has less time involved.  It also causes people to buy these chemicals, which in turn, is a large market of income for those involved.  And it is very easy to see why gmo crops have come about.  Are you aware of what happened to the majority of our farmers years ago?  The system made their lives miserable and unable to be maintained.  Some committed suicide, some sold out, and alot of them had to stand by and watch all of their livelihood, all that consisted of life to them, auctioned off.  Dairy farmers in Wisconsin in the 80's were pressured heavily to give their cows the hormones, in order to get a buyer for their milk.  And wars are also a big money maker for those supplying the items needed, especially in today's world, where our military doesn't even make their own food or clean their own toilets anymore.  Our society today is a fast, busy, busy, no-time for basics like cooking.  And if you talk to most people, they like things this way.  History always does repeat itself.  It is good to be a thinker. 

slow_riser's picture
slow_riser

"it isn't from stupidity that our food supply is corrupt, it is from greed."

Greed is stupidity. It is an extreme short-sightedness and serious lack of understanding about the way things work.

Prosperity is the by-product of generosity. The more you give away the more you have. Its the sort of paradox that takes intelligence to understand and very few people do.

I learned this lesson when I opened a free medicinal herb clinic that gave away medicinal herb tinctures and teas. So many people donated to my clinic that I always had more product than clients. I started with a tiny little inventory in a cupboard and ended up with a garage full.

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I liked what you said about giving a loaf a day away, Terry.   I often find myself with more bread than we can eat, so I just give it away.  Sometimes people try to give me money for it, but I always decline.  It's a very gratifying thing to do, and I like to think that it's just one little thing I can to to increase connectedness with a friend or with a stranger.

SOL

slow_riser's picture
slow_riser

I know what all of you are saying. I have always been happy to eat but I do look at bread so differently now. Its a sacred thing. A miracle that makes everyday Thanksgiving.