An addendum if you will to last week’s entry on trash. I got lots of questions wondering, “What about all that bread?”
Okay. That’s fake news. I didn’t hear anything like that, but I thought it interesting enough to talk about.
Watch this video:
This is pita bread being made. Presumably it is made in the basement by elves. It bakes then conveys up to the second floor and plops on the counter for bagging.
Falling from the ceiling at a local bakery. It is bread at its most basic. Flour, water, salt. No preservatives, no yeast, no riboflavin, no nothing.
If Americans are, per Michael Polland, “Children of Corn”, then Jordanians are “Seeds of Wheat” such is bread’s importance here. It is eaten with every meal. Often pita, but other forms as well.
Pita, for the longest time, was subsidized at a rate of about 35 cents for a kilogram stack. A large family can eat a couple of kilos in no time. About 6 months ago, the government raised the price to almost 50 cents. There are daily protests in the streets still, over this and other price hikes. It is a big deal.
So, it’s one thing for a large family of 6 or 8 to buy a couple of kilograms of bread, but if you’re a smaller group, it becomes cumbersome. There is just so much of it. We asked if we could buy just a few slices, but no go. It’s a full loaf kilo or nothing.
And because there are no preservatives, the bread starts to get stale by the time you walk up the hill to your home. Once the heat dissipates, it gets more and more chewy and stiff. Great with hummous or a salad. By the next day, it is a cracker. It moulds quickly.
For a while, we were freezing it, but then we found we just had freezer full of crackers. You know what makes thawed out pita taste better? Nothing. Nothing can help this man-made, organic dessicant.
So we threw a ton of it away. Then we found out what Jordanians do. They bag up the old bread and take it to the dumpsters or the curb and they hang it somewhere, like the photo above. Then bedouins come by and collect it and they feed it to their goats. Goats, as you may know will eat anything and during a festival, the price of goats can soar.
So, the government pays for the bread, we throw ¾ of it away and the bedouins feed their stock for near free and make a pretty nice profit.
Like pitas from heaven.