Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bread—the “Staff of Life”

Most of us tend to take this everyday food item for granted, yet bread is a definitive piece of every culture, and every religion and country in the world, if I’m not mistaken. Whatever its shape, size or name, not only has it been a principal form of food from earliest times, but it has been a staple in the lives of mankind throughout history.

"Loaves and rolls have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs," according to, the history of bread. "In the British Museum's Egyptian galleries you can see actual loaves which were made and baked over 5,000 years ago. Also on display are grains of wheat which ripened in those ancient summers under the Pharaohs. Wheat has been found in pits where human settlements flourished 8,000 years ago. Bread, both leavened and unleavened, is mentioned in the Bible many times. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew bread for a staple food, and even in those days people argued whether white or brown bread was best."

Also, according to the site, "Further back, in the Stone Age, people made solid cakes from stone-crushed barley and wheat. A millstone used for grinding corn has been found, that is thought to be 7,500 years old. The ability to sow and reap cereals may be one of the chief causes which led man to dwell in communities, rather than to live a wandering life hunting and herding cattle."

There’s a plethora of terms associated with bread, such as “the staff of life.” To “break bread” signifies a sense of sharing and camaraderie, and it is also used while doing a blessing over the bread. We often picture a humble family with little or no worldly goods saying, “At least we have bread on the table.” Bread and water has become known as a staple for prisoners, but we also bring a loaf of bread as a gift when we’re invited to someone’s home.

Often, specific types of bread symbolize a particular nation or religion, or are used for specific rituals. For example, Christians use bread to symbolize the body of Christ. Jewish people eat matzoh on Passover to signify the unleavened bread the Israelites made and ate while fleeing persecution from Pharaoh. They also serve a good challah during special occasions over the year to connotate warmth and friendship.

There are German and Swiss rye breads, and Italian rustic breads, while people from India are known for their naan Then there’s the American Indian North American Indian Fry Bread, or
pita bread in the Mid-East.

As such, I’d say bread has an impact on our human nature. Also, since it’s my human nature to learn more, I checked on the hidden and obscure taxes we in the U.S. have to pay for our bread. According to an editorial written by Don Stott,, written in 1991 mind you,

“One loaf of bread bought in a grocery store or bakery has property taxes for the farmer, bakery, garage for the delivery trucks, oil refinery, truck factory, tire factory, and the factories for every single part in the truck, tractor, and various pieces of machinery that go into making and delivering the bread.

“There are taxes on the property and workers for the milling of the flour, egg producer, maker of yeast, milk, wrappers, slicers, ovens, and even the printers who print the wrappers, and ink that goes into them. All these factories, shippers, farmers, stores, etc. have labor and property taxes to pay as well as telephone, fuel, and a host of other taxes, all of which add to the cost of that single loaf of bread. One economist, 30 years ago, said that a $1.00 loaf of bread had $.95 in taxes.”

I consider this “food for thought.” Don’t you?


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The ability to sow and reap cereals may be one of the chief causes which led man to dwell in communities, rather than to live a wandering life hunting and herding cattle.

There's no maybe about it. This was the defining event that began the first population explosion way back when. And with food surpluses available, cities could also begin to develop.

Many believe that agriculture was invented by women and that this society was largely matriarchal.

11/06/2005 2:43 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Thanks so much for verifying what I'm trying to point out. Isn't it amazing? Nowadays we talk about how the automobile in essence has ruined the nuclear family. Yet way back when the one thing people wanted most was to be able to stay in one place and not always have to forage for food. Maybe it's bread and cars that have most influenced our ways of life!

11/06/2005 3:05 PM  
Blogger kathy said...

Yes food for thought! I found this under the NAI recipes

"Sweet Corn Prayer"
... at winter's table, may we all,
think upon, the first green shoots,
those gone, and those to come."
--"White Corn Sister"

11/06/2005 5:53 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The agricultural revolution, back about 8000 years ago or so was huge. As was the industrial revolution of more recent times.

11/06/2005 8:00 PM  
Blogger Zareba said...

I really am enjoying your blog.

I also bake from scratch, and live as close to nature as it is possible to be. She nourishes my soul.

It seems to be a dying art...all things bringing us closer to nature are being lost to many, particularly the children who think milk comes in a carton from a store!

11/07/2005 2:37 PM  
Blogger Kathy, the Single-Minded Offshoot said...

I've just read your most recent posts - on neighborhood and bread - and enjoyed them very much. It struck me that in my German social history research, I've learned that bread and neighborhood so often were one and the same. In many small villages, the community bake oven, where bread was made was also the place that people came to share news and, yes, gossip. It was also the place for young people to tryst on cool evenings since the oven retained some heat. And I believe that young children were told that babies came from the bake oven. You've got to admit, that's much more cozy than being found under a cabbage leaf.

Also, my thanks for writing this blog and getting us to think about what in life is really important.

11/21/2005 8:45 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Thank you, Kathy. Your comment is just as intriguing and filled with knowledge as your site, which gives us the opportunity to travel back in time and actually feel, and see--as if we were there--what life was like in those days.

And I so appreciate your feeling that I've been able to help others think about what in life is really important. I know it's become a cliche, but we truly have to "stop and smell the roses," don't we?

11/21/2005 9:31 PM  
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1/05/2006 2:23 PM  

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