Of Mice and Bread
Every Monday morning I look forward to stopping at BreadSmith, our local bakery, on my way to work. Walking into the aroma of fresh baked bread and hearing the laughter and chatter of the employees has always been a welcomed joy for me. Today, however proved to be a rather negative experience. All of the employees know that I am vegan so they offer me samples of vegan breads as well as muffins or scones. A woman whom I like quite a bit offered me a new type of bread that had chips in it stating how delicious it was. Another employee jumped into the conversation telling me that they weren't non-dairy chips so I would most likely not want to sample the bread. I thanked her and then she asked me specifically what the difference was between a vegetarian and a vegan. As I proceeded to explain the difference to her the manager walked out onto the floor and spoke loudly as she was exiting "Are we talking about vegetarianism again"? Then she said "Well I'm a proud carnivore". I had so many thoughts run through my mind I didn't know how to respond so I said "just what part of the suffering of animals makes you most proud"? Her response "All of it"! She then left the store as a coward would normally do. I wanted to tell her that she should go vegan for 30 days to try to lose the extra 100 pounds she carries around and if she didn't feel better we would gladly refund her misery, but she was gone and I was left feeling sick at the encounter.
I went to work feeling awful that I wasn't prepared for a better response, but she was walking out the door anyway and wasn't interested in a conversation about veganism. When I arrived at work hungry and hurt I thought of how a slice of my multi-grain bread with strawberry preserves would soothe my bruised ego. I took a slice of bread and cut it in half noticing a seemingly long and large grain I had never seen before. Aha it was a piece of mouse dirt or worse yet rat dirt. Now I would get that manager back for being so crude and heartless about animal suffering. I will call the health department and tell them there are rats and mice in their kitchen, then I will call the employees and tell them how disgusting their operation is. As I started to look up the telephone number for the Health Dept. I thought of how they might remedy this problem. Then it dawned on me that they might put out glue traps and I stopped dead in my tracks and closed the phone book. Surely the mice and rats have a right to eat some of the flour and any little fecal matter that might have got into the flour was baked at a high enough temperature so that the germs were gone and it might even add a little protein to the bread. I picked the piece of dirt from the bread and decided I would toast the bread thus killing any germs that may have been lingering. Realizing the bread was fine and had I not seen the the dirt I probably would have never known the difference I ate the toast, but decided maybe it was time I start to make my own bread.