Due to a planning error, I have a lot of bread this morning.
This doesn’t happen often.
Bread is a catch 22: if I eat it I feel guilty, if I don’t I feel guilty.
I can’t throw away bread. I reach for the bin and my hand freezes. I find it hard enough to throw any sort of food (and very rarely do) but bread is the ultimate no no.
So over the years I have developed various bread disposing strategies that assuage my conscience while also allowing me to exist in a space that is not entirely covered in bread.
I leave it out for hypothetical birds to eat. I take it to work and “forget” it in the kitchen.
I dig it a dignified grave in the freezer under the solemn pretence that one day I will make crumbs.
What complicates the matter further is that I really enjoy going to the baker’s.
He’s a young man perpetually glued to his phone, who smiles widely when I walk in and never fails to shout excitedly (at my beaming face as well as the puzzled ear at the other end of the line): “How are you? I’m better better now that I see you!”
He then proceeds to give me a quick approximation of the price of my steaming cargo and I walk away thinking “this time I have just the perfect amount!”
The good news is that, even if I don’t, at the long last I have found the way.
I learned that excess food here is placed in bags and left somewhere at eye-level in the street – a tree, a wall, a fence. The hungry traveller stops and helps himself to the contents of the bag. Nice and easy.
I know an Australian guy who has spent years in the Middle East without any discernible source of income. Hugely impressed, I once asked him how he deals with the food issue.
“Are you blind?” he replied. “There’s food on every corner!”
As indeed there is.