Toasted Intentions.

bread crust with heart shape cut from middle

After a week of travels, blissful sloth, and eating whatever we found along the road, I woke up this morning determined to Do Better. Be a light in this troubled world! I recommitted to honoring all my Good Intentions. I vowed to stop overlooking the many eco-travesties I commit in the name of convenience and—let’s be honest—laziness. Just as soon as I could wrangle myself out of bed.

And by “laziness” I do not mean Covid-inspired lethargy, induced by a lack of options in lockdown. No, I’m talking about the succumbing to the Just-Can’t-Deal syndrome—flat-out giving up on doing that “One Thing For Earth!” because I feel drained, hollowed. Because the problems keep piling up. Because figuring out solutions is just “too hard.”

But wait a plastic-shucking minute! I’m the one who carries a veritable kitchen drawer’s worth of reusable utensils, straws, bags, to-go containers and takeout cups—all to avoid disposable plastic. But on this Dawn of a New Day, I confess that I’ve turned a blind eye to all of the no-chance-of-being-recycled plastic I bring into in my kitchen. Bread bagged in plastic. Margarine in plastic tubs. Croutons, chips and a world of beguiling snacks all packaged in bags made of layers of polypropylene and polyethylene—whatever those are.

I used to convince myself that putting such things into the blue bin meant they would at least be recycled….by someone, somewhere, perhaps Santa’s off-season elves. But now, sadly, we know better. Ever since China stopped accepting our castoffs, waste haulers have scrambled to find other overseas recyclers to take it in. But how sustainable is it to be shipping our yogurt cartons to Asia for recycling, anyway??

All the while, our plastic castoffs, bearing those hopeful “chasing arrows,” end up in the dreaded landfill of despair. Sigh.

I tell myself it’s not my fault, that there aren’t any good alternatives. That my grocery store doesn’t offer our favorite snacks wrapped in reusable containers. And that I couldn’t make a crunchy chip or bread suitable for a sandwich if my life depended on it. Ask any member of my family.

Sorry excuse, I know. It’s not like Nature popped out a six-toed cat and said, “well, that was a mistake,” and decided to give up on the entire species. Nope, she sent forges ahead, and so must I.

Today, I decided for freaking sure that I was going to make croutons out of our uneaten, stale bread, instead of chucking it into the compost bin, as I usually do. Not to dis my beloved compost bin because I love it like an extended member of our family. Not that my family members smell or draw flies! But they are all my beloveds.

My point is around here somewhere. Hopefully, not in the kitchen junk drawer because that’s a whole other nightmare.

Nope, here it is: how pathetic is it to buy something as simple as toasted bread encased in a plastic sheath because….I can’t toast cubed bread? I’ve been successfully toasting whole slices for several decades now. And yet. . . the “croutons” I’d attempted to make in the past were either too chewy, akin to stale bagels, or blackened like charcoal briquettes.

So I consulted the food bloggers, and away I went, cubing my bread with care, drizzling the best oil, turning midway through cooking….then drat! Out come a fresh batch of briquettes. Off to the compost bin, here we go.

But I really did have Good Intentions.

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  © Cheryl Leutjen