Why do we buy bread before bad weather?

Why do we buy bread before bad weather?
bread--wikimedia

When the forecast calls for a blizzard,  ice storms, power outages, maybe you are one of the people who rushes to the grocery store to stock up on essentials.   It makes sense  to be prepared.  And of course, others have the same idea!  This is why you will see pictures of empty bread shelves, and lines of people waiting to get into the stores.

The phenomenon of  buying milk, eggs  and bread  before bad weather is so well-known meteorologists even have a name for it–“French Toast weather.”  Here is an article about it in Forbes Magazine.

The article has some excellent suggestions of  things to have on hand–batteries, medicine,  and nonperishable items, for example, but there are also some  insights into the psychology of buying bread and other perishable items in  uncertain times.

I would like to add a few more  thoughts–

Bread has a deep symbolic resonance. It is the stuff of life,  indeed a part of human civilization. The idea of enclosing food in something edible and portable  is worldwide–a sandwich,  tortillas, pierogis, egg rolls are just a few examples.

There is soup and bread.  There are pizzas.

We are eating more bread and carbohydrates these days, according to Pew Research.  And what do we call the effects of all these carbs and bread we eat?  Muffin tops.

It may be true that we do not live by bread alone, but remember the prayer, “give us this day our daily bread,”  and the poem, “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou beside me..”  People used to say that something very good is “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

Today, more and more people are baking their own bread.  There is something real and  homey about it. The aroma  of fresh-baked bread  sells houses. Bread is another word for money.   There are bread and circuses.  There are bread and butter issues.

But remember also that bread is the food of revolution.  Let no one tell us that if we can’t have bread, then we should just eat cake!

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Comments

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  • Your column has more than a kernel of truth, he said wryly

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Very punny!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thanks for reading, AW. Rye is my favorite...

  • The part about baking your bread reminded me about the story about the Schulze (Butternut) Bakery at Garfield and State. That, when in operation, used to smell real good, but someone said it was all the alcohol given off by the yeast. The Highland Bakery has a bit of that aroma, but certainly not as much. Highland also had a problem that there were frequent power outages and they had to dump the dough, but I see Comm Ed doubled up the high voltage feeders into it.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for reading, Jack. I live two blocks away from the Turano Bread bakery on Roosevelt Road, and the yeast aroma is quite intoxicating at times. Yes, it does smell a lot like beer...

  • No half-baked ideas here. Great stuff.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much for reading! Here is an ancient recipe for Roman bread--

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