The story of bread is also the story of life. Quite literally. Every human culture to exist since we, as a species, began to (even unconsciously, at first) cultivate agriculture, has had a bread, their bread. Humans swapped an always-on-the-go, nomadic existence for a living structure that closely resembles today’s, but with less density.
This is an important footnote for bread: since its introduction into human society, we began to live in bigger and bigger groups, which, at a certain point on our timeline, began interacting and affecting with each other, until the saturation point we have reached now: true global reach. This produces a greater diversity and accumulation of just about everything imaginable, from shared knowledge to bad memes featuring LOLZ cats.
What does bread have to do with this? Everything, and nothing. It touches upon more aspects of human life, of both our being and being in general, and even toggles up a meta-level or two on the ontological scale, with implications reaching into the nature of our universe.
It is also something we, as a species, like to eat, digest and then defecate. Why do I say this? Because, well, it’s true: bread sustains life, and in more ways than one. What is life, after all, if not just a collected series of eating, shitting and fucking with (hopefully) some genetic replication thrown in, and with the final result of death? That last, ultimate consequence be damned, we and every other species endeavours on.
That’s the definition of life, really, an organic substance with intentions of carrying itself forward, somehow, from its current state of being and into another. The very opposite of entropy. Matter organising and copying itself from one energy state and into another, only for no other reason than to continue along the same path.
Bread, like mentioned before, is the story of life. A brief investigation into its origins will show that it increases the life activity of every organism involved in its production.
Lactic-acid bacteria want to live (maximise genetic replication).
Yeast want to live.
Tall grasses want to live.
Humans like to eat and get drunk. They also want to live, too.
There are other, outlier species in this story, too, like insects, rodents, birds and the like, all with similar intentions. So, all these species, bound by the one common goal, interact with each other, and, over time, unwittingly work together to find a solution that maximises the expression of life activity (metabolic and reproductive) for all those involved. The solution reached occurs because, as each species is reproducing itself (carrying copies of itself forward, into a new energy state), errors occur in the copying process that result in slight variations. At times the differences benefit the one, shared goal, to try to maximise the life activity of all those involved, and, when it does, those copies tend to be carried further more often because they simply work. The funny thing about all this is that each species lives it life separately, unaware of the other, and yet each of their life choices influences each other individual species as well as the group as a whole. These interactions (co-evolutions) arrive at a very clever solution to the question asked, how to maximise the life potential of all those involved.
Bread, of course.
It maximises both the metabolic and reproductive activity of all the players in this game, which is, as I said before, the story of life.
And the end result?
A loaf of bread, an edible collection of organic matter, arranged to carry life forward.
This is what we get when we crush the seeds or grains of local tall-grasses and then mix the result with water, forming a paste that can be transformed into physically-preserved evidence that organic matter defied, however briefly, the universe’s overarching mandate of eventual degradation.
This blog will explore the in’s and out’s of bread, about what it means to bake and break bread.