Home News Spanish News LET THEM EAT GOLD!


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Juan Manuel Morena is the co owner of the bakery in the village of Algatocin

Christmas and the New Year holiday season is a time of year when the stark contrast between those who have and those who have not pricks the conscience of most of us, if only fleetingly.

It may be the homeless man on the street, or the woman outside the supermarket begging for coins to buy food to feed her children that draws our attention to the poverty and plight of many people around us.

These are not people living in some far off continent, but real people who live, and try to survive in our own communities. In the Canary Islands, Spain and the UK, food banks may be the only and last refuge for the needy and desperate.

Most of us are fortunate in having enough to survive, and it may not be wealth or excess, but hopefully we can feed ourselves, our families, and have a roof over our heads.

Unemployment in the Canary Islands and Spain remains very high, and is particularly shocking for the lost generation of young people who have been worst hit by the world’s financial crisis. No civilised society should tolerate such a waste of energy, enthusiasm and talent as we are currently seeing in relatively wealthy European countries, but it seems that the rich and powerful are unable or unwilling to do anything significant to change it. In the UK and Spain we often hear about the “on going years of austerity”, which leaves many to question whether austerity is a desirable state of affairs from the point of view of the political elite.

Is it designed to keep the working classes in their place, profits high and wages low to benefit those in power, as well as those who are better educated or just fortunate?

The Canarian village that I live in is not a wealthy one. Many of its residents are unemployed, or have just one member of the household bringing in a low wage; that is if they are fortunate.

Working hours are long and working conditions are mostly poor in a range of activities from hotel catering, fishing and seasonal agriculture. Even so, the villagers recognise that there are many within their community who have very little to survive on and they organised a ‘Solidarity Gala’ to support the needy during the festive season. The price of entry? No cash, because there is very little to spare; the entry fee was just one kilogramme of unopened food.

I contrast this heart warming attempt to do something positive about real poverty in a community, to a sickening account of a bakery in Andalusia, Spain, that is baking loaves of bread cooked with gold dust, which is being sold for 117 euros for each loaf to the rich, wealthy or powerful. It is being promoted as the ‘world’s most expensive’, with loaves selling like ‘hot cakes’ to Arab, Russian and Chinese buyers.

Each 400 gram loaf of bread contains whole wheat dough and dehydrated honey. It addition, it contains one additional ingredient: 250 milligrams of gold dust, allegedly worth 100 euros. As well as receiving considerable interest from foreign buyers, a national supermarket chain is also showing interest in stocking and selling the product.

I guess that the same could be said about expensive watches, mobile phones, perfumes and cars, and I may be lacking a sense of humour and realism this festive season. However, I find the ‘upgrade’ and sale of such a basic and essential product as bread to be a callous disregard of the poverty and hunger that surrounds us.

There should be no need for food banks, since there is more than enough food for everyone to share if we reduce our own consumption and greed, and curb such frivolous, pointless nonsense, such as eating gold.

For many families in the world, a decent loaf of bread would be more than enough to satisfy them for a day or two. Now, where did I read that eating gold is actually toxic to the human system?

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Expat Voice’ (ISBN: 9780992767174). Available in paperback, as well as Kindle, iBooks and Google Play editions.

iPhone/iPad and Android Apps: ExpatInfo, CanaryIsle and CanaryGay now available.

© Barrie Mahoney

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