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Your daily bread #1 - · 26.02.08 by colin newell

I would hazard a guess that if you took a snap-shot of what the average person is thinking about over an average hour of an average day…
Some of those thoughts would include elements of sex, food, work and basic survival.

And although some of us probably do not think about sex or survival every hour of the waking day, I am almost positive that snippets of food pass through our cerebral cortex very, very frequently.

And not just about food in general, but meal planning and food economics.

Hey. Everyone can be a food economist. And if they are not, they should be.
So, it was with this thought that I took the mobile coffeecrew blog roadshow to an Estevan Village Cafe to discuss food economics with someone who knows it way better than the average Joe – Bubby Roses bakery’s own Mark Engels.

I have been thinking about food a lot lately, especially about the increasing cost of staple items, like flour… and no one knows flour like Mark Engels.

Check this out: I probably use 10 pounds of Whole-wheat and Unbleached white flour in my baking adventures every 6 weeks or so.
Mark’s crew at Bubby Roses Bakery use upwards of 80 kg every day or so.
Uhm – that is my weight… give or take a few kilo.
And despite the fact that flour is on a steady up-tick, the prices at Bubby’s remain pretty static – but do not expect that to last… at Bubby’s or anywhere else.

And although I have never really paid much attention to the cost of a loaf of bread, I have started to in the last few months.
For instance, we like a good cheese bread, and at Thrifty’s, in Victoria, the price has jumped from about $3.19 to $4.19 in about 1 year – all the while Safeway’s has stayed pretty steady at $3.69 – not bad considering that there is less than 25 cents worth of flour in any of those loaves.

Naturally, I wonder what has been raising my bread!

So I asked master baker, Mark Engels, “What’s up in the bakery?”

Mark says that there are a wide variety of things going on in food World that most of us are blithely ignorant of – and that’s just the issues surrounding the humble grain supply.
“We are clearing fields of wheat to plant corn for ethanol…” “There is a trend away from the food supply to the fuel supply… and this is a global trend.”
“Factor in global warming, emerging markets, the roller-coaster ride that is coffee, chocolate, oil and yes, wheat on the trading floors of the stock exchange… and you have the recipe for a global food crisis..”

Ah. Thanks Mark. Something more for me to worry about.

I think I will take this moment and think about sex for a while.

Ok, so food issues are a big deal. In this, the beginning of a continuing series of short blogs on the food supply, I will do my level best to dig deep into the minds of the food masters to bring you, the readers, the straight goods… on food economics.

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