More bread, less plastic

bread bag

A while ago I blogged about a less-than-successful attempt at waste-free grocery shopping, and revealed that sometimes I buy gluten-free bread. I didn’t buy gluten-free sandwich bread after that, so guilty did I feel about the plastic bags. But I like bread.

So I figured it was time to look into whether or not any of the gluten-free bakeries in town sell bread. (As of last search a few years ago, the answer seemed to be no.) I joined a gluten-free Facebook group to start my search but before I could enter any search terms or compose a query, I was bombarded with the good news I sought: There is a new gluten-free bakery on the Upper West Side. It’s called Modern Bread and Bagel. It’s right there in the name: Bread. I checked out the website and decided to get there as soon as possible.

But first, I’d need bread bags. So I made some.

tshirt bags

I took an old t-shirt discarded by my husband (“Don’t throw them away; I’ll make something out of them!”), cut it off up to the sleeves, and made two drawstring bags out of the material. For the drawstring I used a length of t-shirt yarn I’d previously made from a different t-shirt. The bags are beautifully soft and the drawstrings pull very smoothly. If I end up making another set, maybe I’ll plan ahead and make a full tutorial.

I like it when items have a clear and stated purpose, so I also labeled the bags with embroidery floss. Conveniently, I was able to use a long car ride from Inwood to Red Hook (and back again) to embroider the two bags, which was plenty of time.

The next day, I took my bags to a very crowded Modern Bread and Bagel, bought a couple everything bagels to bring a friend, and a rustic loaf of bread for myself. The bakery bags everything up in paper bags but the staff behind the counter was perfectly happy to place the bread directly in my cloth bags. Could not have been happier with the establishment, and could not have been happier with the loaf.

I am genuinely thrilled to have a real, live bakery nearby where I can enjoy some essential bites. Buying from a local bakery is something every bread eater should be able to enjoy. I’ve encouraged my non-gluten-free husband to take advantage of that privilege at Breads and other establishments but I haven’t been able to do the same for myself. I love that I’m getting the chance to do that now—buying from my neighbors (or near neighbors!) instead of a national brand. And even better: Buying bread without plastic!

That’s one small step for zero waste, one giant leap for my culinary horizons.

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