Bread Equals Civilization
People tend to mention the ability to bake bread when listing the things that mark out civilisation.
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Needs More Examples
Needs More Examples
In fiction there are many things people mention when they attempt to list things that make humans special, make us the civilisation builders we are, farming, conceptualisation, morality, curiosity, language. One thing that tends to oddly be involved in such lists is the ability to bake bread. In fact, it is fair to say that not only is bread a mark of a civilized culture, but the type and quality of the bread may act as a marker of the type and quality of the culture and its moral codes. For instance, The Bible speaks of unleavened bread during the Passover, this was to distinguish themselves ritually from the Egyptians. And again in Ezekiel, when it says to mix several grains and even lentils and beans to make a very healthy bread. And according to one history book, Hitler was a great proponent of whole grain breads, possibly due to his fanaticism with the strength and racial purity of his citizens. Bread is found nearly everywhere, from unleavened matzos and pita in the Middle East, to filled steamed buns in China and Japan, to all manner of types and qualities. There isn't even a requirement that one use wheat, any sort of grain will do, whether rice or barley, or even potatoes. Why is such a thing used to stand for civilization? Who knows, but it is.
- In 28 Days Later the leader of the soldiers puts baking bread on the list things the infected cannot do that will lead to their starvation.
- In The Matrix almost all of Zion's food is synthesized, and is a disgusting gruel. However, they are able to produce a very small grain crop which is used to make bread. Because their bread is so rare, it's treated with reverence and saved for special occasions. This can be seen in The Matrix Reloaded when Zionites give loaves as offerings to Neo with requests, as if he were a living god.
- Ur-Example: In the The Epic of Gilgamesh, the title character seeks after immortality, and is challenged to stay awake for 7 days. He can't even stay awake seven minutes due to the fatigue of his trip, so fearing he was declare that he was awake, Utnapishtim (the one in possession of immortality) and his wife bake bread, one for each day.
- There are 255 mentions of bread in The Bible. It's not a key concept like sin or eternal life, but it still gets a huge number of mentions.
- In Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley, one passage of Fauxlosophic Narration contrasts the growing of grain and baking of bread that nourishes civilizations with the Patriotic Fervor that drives them towards mutual annihilation.
- Civilization: In Civ 5, all nations start with Agriculture and all subsequent techs grow out from there. What this amounts to is, the only resource that can be worked from the very start of the game, without any scientific advancement, is Wheat. In real-world terms, Civ treats the start of civilization as when a people learns to grow wheat and bake bread.
- In Real Life bread is a synecdoche for food (i.e. it's used to mean "all food, including non-breads") in many languages.
- The idiom "The best thing since sliced bread" refers to the idea that pre-sliced bread was an improvement on something that was already considered perfect.
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