On Sundays, my husband — a lifelong print newspaperman — can imagine himself happy in a world of paperless newspapers. That’s because I’ve never managed the skill of neatly refolding a read newspaper.
“How can a tidy person like you throw your newspapers on the floor in a heap?” he asks. Husband Bill is not tidy by my standards, except in his management of perused newsprint. Even so, he does not live up to his tidy father’s standards. Louis Lambrecht, an early practitioner of recycling, folded his read newspapers in piles as neat as those his newsboy son Billy received in the dark of each morning.
Reader, I have set up a strawman, for there’s really no debate. Without print newspapers, Lambrecht’s and my household would be a shambles.
First I read the papers; then I put them to work. Even the thick Sunday carpet of strewn newspaper will rise to a new purpose. For summer makes heavy newsprint demands.
Without newspaper — especially broadside pages — where would I gather the deep detritus that accompanies each meal? Eating fresh and eating local generates piles of tomato and onion skin, cucumber and kohlrabi peel, cantaloupe and watermelon rind, outer cabbage leaves, pepper and squash seeds. Like mother like daughter, I lay out mats of newspaper below my kitchen work with fruit, veggies, flour, fish and meat.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner preparation require a small daily paper (including, alas, the modern Baltimore Sun).
Extraordinary efforts need much more.
For a crab feast, only a Sunday paper will suffice. A small gathering can manage with the Washington Post. Throw a big feast, and you’ll need the New York Times.
Planning on canning the bounty of summer? A nice tabloid like Bay Weekly makes the perfect pad for the hot, hot jars as you lift them out of their boiling bath.
Carrying a chocolate zucchini cake just out of the oven to a friend’s house? Set it in a newspaper-lined box.
We like our food and news local, fresh and in hand. Here’s hoping you do, too.