Friday, December 3, 2010
A few weeks ago, I found a bunch of organic whole wheat bread on clearance at the local grocery store. It has ingredients you can pronounce, I actually know what all of them are and where they come from, and has no hfcs. It's basically bread that I might actually bake myself. So I bought all 5 loaves. We like our bread. Especially good hearty bread like this. We left one upstairs and put the rest in the freezer. (This actually works very well. I had never frozen bread before out of fear it would be weird, but it comes out great.) We have been pulling them out and eating them. Now I am on the hunt. Every time I go to the store, I look to see if there are any clearance breads. I found another couple, bought them, and froze them. I pulled one out about two days ago and set it on the counter in the kitchen to thaw. Today, I went to open the package. I was surprised Alann hadn't opened it, because he loves toast for breakfast. It comes in two wrappers (which I think is terribly wasteful but that's unrelated). I opened the outer layer and started to open the inner layer when I noticed something odd. There was a fist-sized hole in the side of the loaf. First thought- Claire must have somehow squished it in the cart, because she is helpful like that. Look again, no, that doesn't look right. Maybe it baked weird? No, they wouldn't have sold it. Third thought- maybe Alann grabbed a handful of bread. It's totally unlike him, but wait, the inner package isn't open. Look again- AHHHHHHHHHHH THERE'S A HOLE IN THE PACKAGE!!!! Look at the outer package- hole. Some critter ate half my loaf of bread. Needless to say, the whole loaf went into the trash can. But now the worrying starts- WHEN did the critter eat the bread? Option 1- on the kitchen counter as it thawed the last few days- unlikely. There is no evidence of critterness- the bread was sitting in an open area of counter, so it wouldn't have any places to hide while it ate. Plus, we have Jersey and the dogs, not that they have ever caught anything in their lives bigger than a grasshopper, but Jersey acts like she knows how to hunt and practices stalking things outside. Mama kitty (the garage cat) does occasionally leave "presents" for us. I like to pretend she finds them outside in the woods or field and brings them in to leave on the doorstep. Option 2- in my freezer. Um, no. Option 3- before I put it in the freezer... This is a possibility. I'm not sure which batch of bread this is from. I think we finished all the loaves before I bought more, but I am not 100% sure. The first batch sat on the floor in the kitchen overnight (in the cloth grocery bag) before it made it's way downstairs. None of my grocery bags have holes. The second batch went down right away. Option 4- in my car. Possible. There is a history of mice infesting cars out here. However, I've been doing very good about keeping it clean, so I'm pretty sure there are no visitors out there. And it was only in the car long enough to drive home (about 20 minutes), and something tells me that if a mouse was living in the car, it wouldn't come out to eat bread while the car was moving. Which leaves me with Option 5- at the grocery store or warehouse, or wherever the bread comes from. This just grosses me out. I worked a grocery store as a teenager. I know that while they try, you can't possibly keep every little piece of food safe. What upsets me most is that this is the store that I use most often because it is closest to the house. It's rather small, dark, and a little dingy around the edges. It already gives off the aura of "don't shop here!" I don't need to add mice to the list of reasons I don't want to shop there. There is one other grocery store in town and the walmart. I don't like walmart's fresh stuff, and I won't do wic shopping there because of the lines. The other store we have tried once or twice, but their milk isn't hormone free, so I won't do my wic shopping there. Organic or not I am not convinced on, but I am definitely convinced that I do not want my kids drinking milk from cows given hormones. I avoid it whenever possible. Claire has had maybe two gallons of hormone-induced milk in her life. (Now, just because the jug doesn't SAY hormone free, doesn't mean it isn't. But I would rather be safe than sorry.) That kid drinks a lot of milk. It's one small way that I can make a difference in the food that she eats without affecting our pocket book. (BTW, Walmart only sells hormone free milk, in case you didn't know that. Consumers preferences in action!) Anyway, I'm kind of stuck going to this store at least for my wic shopping. And seriously, with two kids in tow, I do the rest of my shopping at the same time. Unless I want to drive 30 minutes to get to another store, I'm stuck. And grossed out. And saddened by the loss of my bread. But I guess I learned a valuable lesson- check the bread before you buy it. Because it might have been half eaten by a mouse.