I cut the crusts from my daughter’s sandwich, basking in the glow of attentive motherhood, as well as the the self-righteous satisfaction of being a composter. The nutrition in the crusts of this organic, 100% whole-grain bread baked by artisans paid a living wage, shall not be wasted. These crusts will feed the critters in my compost bin who shall convert it into nutrition for my kitchen garden which, in turn, shall become organic vegetable nutrition for my children—if I could ever get them to eat any.
But then I remember that the compost bin is so full that I can barely turn it. My most recent effort resulted in several broken fingernails and a cursing streak of which I am not proud. I can’t empty it yet because that disgusting (oops, I mean, glorious) smelly glop in there isn’t yet done ‘cooking.’ I can’t add the crusts to that big bag of “ready-to-compost!” scraps that I so helpfully left by the compost bin last week either. The neighborhood foragers ripped into it last night, spreading food scraps across the lawn, like so much frat party puke that I’m sure the neighbors wonder (again) just what the hell goes on over here.
I’d love to toss the bread crusts out the kitchen door as a treat for the birds except this agreeable activity, so much a part of my fondest childhood memories, has been deemed yet another eco-travesty. Birds should be dining on nuts and seeds, full of protein, not dry bread that can swell up inside the avian gut, sometimes killing them. And a bloated, dead bird on my drought-tolerant, organically-nutrified yard would totally kill my self-righteous glow.
I don’t want to eat the crusts because I don’t need the carbs, and I would rather wear a scarlet P (for polluter) than send precious nutrition off to a landfill where they will not compost in anyone’s lifetime. Leaving them out on the counter until I figure something out will only spark another lecture from my daughter about the TOTAL DISGUST of leaving moldy food out in the family kitchen.
I stomp outside, grab my shovel and I dig a hole in the yard deep enough to bury a body and throw in the bleeping crusts. If the birds dig ’em up out of this pit, well, then it’s on them. I replace the soil while whispering apologies to any earthworms who might have been harmed in this exercise. I brush the dirt from my hands, wave to the agape dog walkers across the street, and then I go to my yoga class.