On the cost of food…

05_b_C19A7504 March 14, 2015 7:11 pm by: 2 Comments

Last week in the kitchen a customer complained about the price of our lemon bread (I work out of BakeworksSF in Hayes Valley, come visit me any Friday!).

Some folks are just born to complain, I know, but working in the food business, and living in San Francisco these days, the price of food (particularly toast) is a contentious conversation.

So I thought I’d throw my 2 cents on the table.

Class issues, check. The changing culture of San Francisco, check. Growing older in a city that is forever young, fear of the unknown, loss of control, check, check, and check.

All that, a bag of chips, and a side of pickles is a part of this conversation, but I’m not that brilliant of a writer to articulately fit that into a blog, it would be a book that’s more like a journal and that’s something nobody needs to read.

Frankly, I’m amazed that food doesn’t cost more, though I think that’s because there are many hidden costs that future generations will find themselves paying. For me, working in food is about relationships – it’s one of the things I love so much about the job. I have relationships with farmers and their families, with the folks that work at the farmers’ market, with the warehouse workers at distribution companies, with baristas, café owners, and the folks working at grocery stores. Somehow, cookie­-by­-cookie, the food we make allows for all these people to pay their rent, support themselves and their families, and maybe even take a vacation. It’s kind of a miracle.

When I think of how much work goes into making biscotti (they are a bit of a labor of love for a cookie), and then you add into that the time it took to grow the wheat in the field, to nurture the chicks into adult laying hens, to harvest and dry the fruit (I’m not even going to think of the time it takes to get an orchard up and running), it’s amazing that you can buy those biscuits for $1.65 at Rainbow Grocery.

For me, food is the easiest way to explore the interdependence of all beings, and that is such an inspiration. I want to know and support all the amazing and interesting folks that feed us in so many ways. Rent in this town is too expensive, but I’d be willing to pay more for that lemon bread.

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