Give us our daily bread…

I LOVE supermarkets. They’re an experiment in social behaviour just sitting right in front of you, awaiting analysis.

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a direct correlation between poorness and the number of loaves of white bread in the supermarket trolley. A few days ago I happened to be in a branch of a certain love-it-or-loathe-it supermarket chain which takes – what is it? – one pound out of every eight pounds spent in this country and rhymes with al fresco. Good grief, it was an enlightening experience, I tell you. I think it’s actually possible to discover more about our fellow countrymen and women by noseying into their supermarket trolleys than by reading tables of Government statistics.

Some of the sights astounded me. I saw one woman who was about the size of a hippopotamus, and her face was a picture of ill-health. All flab and folds, pink and flaccid, rolling over the top of her tight fitting clothes. I think the Government calls it – obese. And in her gargantuan trolley was, neatly perched one on top of the other, about 20 loaves of white bread. She had a small bread mountain in there. She appeared to have very little else in that trolley. I began to wonder how many she was feeding back home. An army of little blighters? Or – let’s give her the benefit of the doubt here – did she perhaps run a Bed and Breakfast? Perhaps she owned a sandwich delicatessen? But then, why wouldn’t she buy straight from the wholesaler?

I looked around me and began to see that she was not alone. Several people, each portly and panting, appeared to be buying nothing but loaf upon loaf of bread. Was there a war on? I wondered. Some rationing that no one had told me about? They couldn’t get enough of it. Not granary, not multigrain, not even French baton, but extra extra white, factory bleached, no-bits, nutritionally-devoid BREAD. Starch. Carbs. The “healthy” alternative to chips, one presumed. Now I like a bit of bread, and it has been around for a few thousand years after all – but seven identical loaves all at once? – That’s pushing it, even for the biggest of families. That’s more than just a round of sandwiches and even a hefty-sized bread-and-butter pudding for afters. These people seemed to have more than a bread fetish. This was a bread eating disorder.

And once home, what are people DOING with all this bread? Are they building houses with the stuff? Feeding it to the ducks and squirrels? Stitching it into quilts for winter? No, I’m afraid not. I’ve asked people and I know some who think that a nutritionally balanced diet consists of breakfast – “toast!”, with nought but butter – then lunch – a chip sandwich – followed by dinner – soup, plus “loads and loads of white TOAST” to polish it off. Perhaps then a Nutella sandwich before bed to really put an end to their hyperglycaemic day. Mmm. Yummy!

Further, my no-Government-funding-required research then went on to hypothesize that there is a direct link between yellow-to-white foodstuffs and gargantuanism. You can analyse this for yourself the next time you go food shopping. Just scan the contents of each trolley and look out for one rich in all the yellow-white hues: for example, chips, potatoes, white bread, “baps”, pastry, Supanoodles, macaroni cheese, milk, chicken dippers, fish fingers, vanilla ice cream, waffles, crisp multi-packs, frozen alphabet letters made of piped potatoes, spaghetti hoops, pasta. It’s all low-grade starch fuel at the end of the day. Then quickly look up from the trolley to the person pushing it around and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be obese. You can also bet there will be little in the way of green hues in that trolley, a fact further demonstrated by the lack of vitality and vigour in the trolley pusher’s face.

Think of this next time you look down at your trolley and find yourself nursing a single tin of beans on top of a veritable bouncy castle of loaves – man cannot live by bread alone!


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