Monday, September 6, 2010

Local Headlines

Sacchi di pane fresco gettati nell'immodizia

Bags of fresh bread thrown in the trash

Leggo, giovedì 2 settembre, p. 20

The city was up in arms about the wasteful gesture on the part of the supermarket on via Gattamelata, Eurospar. Last Wednesday afternoon, they threw away kilos of fresh bread. This was probably because they did not sell everything that was baked in the morning and all food stores are closed on Wednesday afternoons. The local poor and homeless steadily arrived at the public trash container in question and took advantage of the boon.

I have seen homeless pilfering from that exact trash spot for years. There are two men in particular that gather their fruits and vegetables there just about everyday. There must have been more poor coming by that particular day, with the overflowing bread. In general, I have never seen anyone upset by these people going through the trash. The sight is an affirmation that poverty exists and that we are a wasteful society nowadays, throwing away things that are still usable and edible. It's an old and sad story...

In Italy, tons of unused bread ends up as rubbish from bakeries, food markets and individual houses. In January, the Corriere della Sera reported that Italy averages 24,230 tons of bread ending up in the waste bin a month. Not everybody uses their day-old bread. We can buy pane gratttugiato (bread crumbs) for very cheap, and even if Italian grate up the old crusty bread, there is only so much they can use of it at once. It's an interesting dilemna. Fresh is great but can be wasteful. Long-lasting is convenient but can be terrible as far as taste and health is concerned. We already consume enough preservatives in other food stuffs, right?

Veneto bread does not last as long as some other varieties on the penisola. I remember the bread I ate in Tuscany and other more southern areas of Italy would last up to a week. You just cut off slices as you go. The crust is thicker and must protect the bread from the air better. Here the bread shapes are all rather small and have thin crusts. Most of the bread is sandwich size: mantovani, zoccoletti, francesini, ecc.

F is buying some as I write. We just better make sure we finish off what we buy today. Panini are in order for lunch.


  1. It is a terrible waste - but bread in Italy only seems to last a day before I becomes as hard as a board.

    But you are right, something could be done to recycle it and turn it into food. Feeding the poor would be good, but even feeding pigs would be better than throwing all this bread away.



  2. Yes, when we are in the mountains, we pass on our day-old bread to the hens that the neighbor has. But this is more difficult to do in Padua, since not many have them in their city apartments. (Although during WWII, people kept them on their balconies even in the city.)

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