So.. today, I did a little cleaning in my office. A co-worker has an extra table, and I needed to move some stuff in order to get it in my office, so I had to start getting rid of stuff that had accumulated there.
One item that I needed to get rid of was a loaf of Wonderbread.
Why did I have a loaf of wonderbread in my office? I’m glad you asked.
Last semester, one of the books that I used to teach the students critical thinking skills with was Michael Pollen’s “In Defense of Food,” which was part of the university’s “Go Big Read” program. I quite liked this book–flawed as it may be–and to bring our last discussion day of the book to a close last spring (mid-April-ish), I decided to make our discussion more interactive. So, I bought some Sara Lee Whole Wheat “lite” bread, some Wonder Bread, and made a loaf of homemade German Rye Bread. I then had the students partake of these and compare and contrast them.
It was a fun learning experience and many of them commented that it was one of their favorite days of the class. In any case, I had an entire loaf of wonder bread left from that day and it just sat in my office since then.
Today I decided I should do something with it.
Now–the really interesting fact that I noticed today was not that the bread within the package itself still appeared to be “fresh”–at least in the sense that it was still spongie and there were no signs of mold on it. I’d noticed that fact throughout the summer as I checked it occasionally to see if any mold was growing.
No.. the bread was and is still “fresh” according to the standards of wonderbread.
What is actually really fascinating is that when I picked up and felt the package, I noticed something else entirely–and that was that the plastic package itself is starting to degrade. Now, a lot of such packaging is now designed with corn-starch in it such that after a certain-long period of time, it becomes susceptible to bacteria, which each it so that it can bio-degrade into the environment.
This is a good thing.
Hilarious, though, is the fact that this plastic packaging is decaying and breaking down significantly faster than the supposed food product inside of it that it is “protecting.”
Now..seriously, how fucked up is that. The world of micro-organisms are choosing to eat plastic ahead of the supposedly “highly nutritious” (so says its label) food product inside.
Very, Very, Afraid.