One of Bread on Earth’s credos is that bread is a helpful tool for seeing trends and truths regardless of context. In that spirit, I wrote a piece for Kim Hastreiter’s internet-free newspaper The New Now about how the emotional, financial, and social shifts in ‘bread culture’ over the past spring and summer can be seen as representative of our broader human circumstance.
Excerpt from ‘The Bread Rise’:
“…I wasn’t surprised that in the face of a political and viral autocracy, the American people suddenly decided they needed to get their hands back on a substance that easily reads as life, money, and God, all at the same time. Despite its Western scapegoating as a dietary evil for the last decade or so (setting aside the slower but parallel renaissance of artisan bread-baking in niche American foodie-ism), bread still signifies security.
That said, a much longer history of ideological literature and actions has taught us that bread is representative of life and the livelihood that allows for the flourishing of that life. We must make bread to make bread. It serves as both sides of the literal and figurative coin: wealth and poverty, indulgence and austerity. This works well for those who can both withhold it and reward with it — a duality that is the source of bread’s mythology as both something people deserve and something people should be grateful to get (concepts that are actually at odds with each other). Bread shows up in religion, government, and industry, all socially stabilizing forces if accepted by a public, but destabilizing if resisted. The provider of bread has historically been a traditionally powerful one, be it the Christian god, the ruling party, or the man of the house, land, or factory. Yet bread is often culturally associated with quite the opposite: women, the masses generally, and the peasantry in particular…”
Continue reading here.
+ This story from May 7, 2020 in The Paris Review, written by Sabrina Orah Mark, is a good companion to it.