Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tom, Tom the Bakerman

Bread without the plastic wrapper
‘That smells amazing,’ my colleague, A, says as she walks into the staff room where I’m preparing my lunch: fresh rosemary foccacia, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip it in. Mmm, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. What could I do but give her some to taste?

The supermarket scenario
There really is nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread. You just don’t get that in the supermarket unless you get there early enough in the morning for the bakery to still be on the go, but then they wrap it and seal it plastic before they put it on the shelves, shutting the smell away.

Yeah, I know, they do have their little nods toward the old ways, with the baskets of fresh rolls you can choose from, but the only way to get them home is by dropping them in one of the provided bread bags: even those that are mostly paper usually have a clear plastic window in them, just in case you forget what you put in there.

And then there’s the bread brands: Hovis, Kingsmill, Supermarket-own; it’s impossible to buy these without the plastic bag. Which is why I now buy all my bread from Baker Tom.

Baker Tom
I walk in the door and there’s an array of bread baskets against the opposite wall, all the different smells leaping out at you. From your basic white, wholemeal or granary, to Irish soda bread, olive bread, cinnamon and raisin bread, even honey and lavender bread, Baker Tom makes it and Baker Tom sells it. It’s baked fresh every day, and they use organic and local ingredients wherever they can; there are no additives or preservatives, and if there’s anything left at all by the end of trade, it goes to the local homeless shelter.

I um and ah over whatever is left by the time I get there, and when I’ve finally made my decision, the assistant wraps it up in paper and, if it’s foccacia, puts it in a nice paper bag to stop the grease escaping. I hand over my 80p, or whatever is required that given day, and leave the shop a plastic-free and happy girl, trying not to be tempted by the Danish pastries, pain au chocolat, or almond tart cunningly laid on the desk by the till. All I have to do now is convert Bron.

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