Bread Baking Economics

 

[content notes: food privilege,being broke, classism,poorsplaining, food insecurity]

We ‘ve been buying store bought bread. I used to make most of my own but when we lived in the house with no heat in most of the rooms and a 30 year old oven that didn’t work so well, I stopped doing it and never got back into the habit.

Yesterday morning we ran out of bread and there was exactly zero cents left to buy any after scraping together the rent money. Good thing I bought flour last week and have yeast and salt on hand,eh?

I was in a terrible mood because of the general circumstances of the day but then it was made worse by Pinterest. We all know Pinterest is a life ruiner. Somehow Pinterest seemed to know the exact buttons that needed pushing and placed as their “recommended for you” posts all things that had to do with “Bake Your Own Bread To Save Money!” and holy hell…. “Eat Real Food Even When You’re Poor”.

Lizzy McGuire

 

Ok, great…good for you for baking your own bread to save some money but I’m not baking bread because I’m trying to save money! I’m baking bread because I don’t have any freakin’ money in the first place!

What if I hadn’t had flour and yeast? I could make pretend bread. That would probably taste great if I put my mind to it and have a lot less calories. Really,though… I am certain some of these people don’t understand that cooking things from scratch like homemade bread requires ingredients and sometimes you don’t even have the money for the ingredients. Then what? Well, then you just go without. Like…you just don’t have that thing at all. Really. That’s a thing that happens.

And time! I work at home. I’m home all day. I am busy but I do have time I can work with. I think back to those days when I was a single mom working full time outside the house and I can just not imagine how I would have baked bread everyday with all that was going on.

Other things needed to bake bread: a working oven or bread oven, the economic ability to pay for  the utilities, the physical ability to do it.
So,then after thinking about all that,  I was mad about having to bake bread even though I LIKE baking bread. I even like kneading it, which is the one thing people seem to want to cut out of the process. It’s really therapeutic and I developed this whole routine to go along with it. I made a playlist with songs that are all 7-10 minutes in length and that’s how I measure the amount of time I need to knead. It helps keep me focused (ADHD brain here) and makes the time enjoyable.

I also went through that thing where when you don’t have money and you keep thinking back on all the things you bought that you could have done without or spent less money on. Like bread. I even did math. I quit before I had the answer to what I was trying to figure out but that’s beside the point.
I did manage to figure out that the cheapest loaf I can bake at home is about 35¢. It takes two of those loaves to equal the $2 loaf we buy. So, 70¢ for homemade versus $2 for storebought. But we tend to eat more of the homemade because it’s SOOO good (really, it’s much better), so I’m  not convinced I should have major remorse about the money spent on storebought bread.

Food pantry is open this Monday. There will probably be bread. There usually is. Bakeries and stores throw a lot out . There’s nothing wrong with it. I’ll take it.

I did make bread after all yesterday. It was awesome,thankfully.If anything had gone wrong, I probably would have flipped tables.
IMG_1663

My day ended up improving. I sold something, made some egg ,butter,milk money (we ran out of all 3 yesterday,too. Sheesh). Started the day with zero cents ,ended with more than zero plus good bread. Still annoyed at how the people telling poor people how to cook and spend their money don’t really get it sometimes. This morning I was listening to one of my usual podcasts and a woman introduced as a frugal foodie was on it explaining(poorsplaining) how to eat well even when you’re broke. The woman’s bio does not entail an impoverished life. Yes, bread was mentioned. The universe is determined to piss me off by putting these people in my ears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Bread Baking Economics

  1. Once again, you’ve gotten me where I live. “I could bake imaginary bread[…]” because stone soup (a Russian folktale) is my favourite recipe. Pardon me for leaving this other bit of possibly shameless self-promotion, from an unpublished Thanksgiving-themed poem of mine, but I guess you and your followers might get the gist of it and possibly even find some comfort in it

    I give thanks that I will eat
    a(nother) ramen meal, at all.
    Foodstamps lack respect
    for end-of-month holidays,
    forging a silent brotherhood
    among the shamed.

    FWIW, the last time I baked a lot, for real, was when in my early teens, it was part of keeping the house going; ten or so loaves every Monday a.m. Went on to be a professional baker, among other jobs. You’re spot on about the therapeutic value thereof. There’s nothing like the scent of fresh bread. And, foodbanks in my neck of the woods have all the best artisanal breads that have gone off (at least by date, not by edibility.I do so hope things turn around for you. Until that happens, please do keep on doin’ what you do.

  2. Sorry Jupiter, wish I could say it always eventually gets better. We both know that sometimes it doesn’t, but that isn’t exactly inspirational now, is it. I haven’t commented in a while. To be honest, things have been going extremely well for my little family and I think part of me has been afraid to jinx it all. I took a job as a contract machinist that pays extremely well. I travel all over and live out if hotel rooms, but my wife gets to travel with me and it has worked out pretty well…as in, I think it is almost going to be OK for us. The sad thing is that I have been there and have no illusion that I could not be back there tomorrow. Life just sucks that way. Poverty and mental illness go hand in hand. I have spent most of my life dealing with both, but I have been given a chance to help others which feels so incredibly good. Some days I forget myself and get mad about the $1200 a month or so that we have been doling out for the last year or so and then I remember that we are helping to feed two other families that wouldn’t be making it without that help and it puts me back in my place.

    We give and we get. We survive. Reading your words always reminds me of where I came from. Yesterday or the day before ( I can’t remember which) I was reading about your blender experience. I thought about the blender we bought a few weeks ago because our friend from back home in Wisconsin was coming to visit us and we always used to sit on the porch in the good times and drink frozen adult beverages together. We bought the damn thing and it still sits here in the box it came in, unopened, and it occurred to me that maybe another of your readers might want or need it. Who knows, but if so I would be happy to give it to someone who needed it. Maybe they could shoot me an email at jason.kreul@gmail.com if they do, in case I don’t see a reply here.

    Anyhow, don’t ever give up the fight. Sometimes good things even happen to people like us.

  3. Of course….just make bread with the ingredients you don’t have. Reminds me of the Thanksgiving baskets the local pantry put together. They always included a can of pumpkin. I asked….and was told so that they could make a pie.

    Right! Sure! With?!?! The eggs you didn’t give them, the canned milk, the makings for pie crust….and I’m just positive they have all those pricey spices in the cabinet.

    They did, however, include a loaf of bread.

    For stuffing! No onions, celery or…..

    well you get it.

    (and two cans of veggies…not matching….seriously made me want to poke my eyes out. If you’re going to do it….do it well.)

  4. I love this post and YES, I know EXACTLY what you mean….Pinterest depresses me to the core and I stopped looking at it entirely. I have a bread machine but sometimes it just isn’t worth using it because it runs up our electric bill and we don’t have money for that plus the ingredients…UGH…
    We used to go to this awesome food pantry in our old state that had all you can grab bread and usually they had a massive surplus of organic bread. I would go once a month and get around ten loaves and freeze them….and it actually made me feel like I was feeding my family well and my constant worrying about not having enough food was put to ease…
    I hope you have a better day! You really do help so many people and I look forward to reading your blog each day. Thank you for being so wonderful xo

    1. Thank you 💞

      My son used to work at a little natural grocery/deli and he got to bring home all the leftover bread at the end of the day. It was wonderful! We had bread for ages in the freezer. These were loaves of bread that sold for like $5 each! I cried a little when he ended that job lol

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