How is it that my very popular brand of organic soft wheat sandwich bread can sit at room temperature for so long before expiring into a dark green, fuzzy mass of mold?
One major part of the processed food supply (for both industrialized organic and conventional food) chain includes something most of us are familiar with – the addition of preservatives and other additives to both lengthen the shelf life of most food items found in the center isles of our grocery stores and/or make it taste ‘better’ (a relative term). The idea of the preservation of food has been around for centuries, but it really wasn’t until the 20th century that human beings started adding synthetic chemicals to our food, making our lives far more efficient and convenient.
That is, until I started looking at the ingredients list on all my packaged foods. Ignorance really is bliss (sometimes).
Sometimes, I buy my chicken stock, pasta sauce and bread, ready made, from the local grocery store. It’s just easier. Out of sheer curiosity, I started reviewing the ingredients list on my favorite ready-made food items, thinking that I could maybe save myself some extra bucks by recreating the same flavors at home – from scratch. But…how do you make xanthum gum in your kitchen? Or lactic acid? Or soy lecithin?
Hummm….very strange, indeed. At least to me. While I now make most things from scratch, I have one more thing I’d like to make from scratch. And that brings us back to the earlier reference to sandwich bread.
In a sad attempt to make my family some whole-wheat sandwich bread, I instead made two light brown bricks, appropriate for building a home and less appropriate for making grilled cheese sandwiches. While I continue my efforts to make a less dense/sandy sandwich bread, I’ve done a bit of research and found a local bakery that makes deliciously soft, organic, preservative-free bread. Now, I don’t’ have to obtain a PhD in chemistry to decipher my ingredients list and I get to still eat sandwich bread. Fantastic.