Sunday, October 21

Kneading the Dough

Last week, I heard a terrific lecture from Italy's President of the Antitrust Agency, a remarkable man with an amazing background and excellent presentation skills. Unlike most of his paesani, who usually just sit up there and read out an excruciatingly boring internal report, he was witty and spoke off the cuff, and we all learned quite a lot, which will be food for my fodder later. He only touched lightly on a subject that is rather close to our hearts, and even closer to our stomachs, and even more closely, to our wallets. He had announced just the day before, that they would be looking into what's up with the price of bread (err, above and beyond the stratospheric price itself).

See my previous entries: Getting Milked at the Pump, Post Scriptum on Inflation and Hunger Strike.

It would 'appear' that the bread guys have formed a sort of cartel and that's why prices, overnight, seem to just keep rising (maybe it's the yeast). The bakers say it ain't so, but, in one day last week all the bread around the entire city of Rome went up 79% - literally overnight. Hmmmmm... In their (collective) defence, each and every baker, independently of the other, stated it was because they had just happened to be holding a terrific sale on bread the day before. Mr. Antitrust certainly has his job cut out for him.

In Milan, that totally inaccessible city, remotely located like for example, Bermuda, the price is double that in Rome and even more compared to Naples. Must be the difficult transport of the wheat across the Lombardy flat lands. It's no wonder we associate Bread with Dough meaning Money.

Don't ask me, but it's stuff like this that kicked off the French Revolution. Except back then, it was purely economic: Short supply, high prices. The Italians, on the other hand, have never been terribly fond of Milton Keynes & his ilk. So, prices just keep rising -- maybe the bakers are just burned out...

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