■Are Bakers Bad at Counting?
Characters: C - Chan; K - Kimura
A GV and a learner in class talking about bread
K: I always make it a point to eat breakfast in the morning
before going to work.
C: As one of the most worn-out proverb parents tell their
kids says, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
K: A typical Japanese breakfast. I usually have tamago kake
gohan. It’s hot rice topped with raw egg. Since the rice is
still hot, the raw egg gets cooked a bit. I add soy sauce and
Japanese seasoning called furikake.
C: Ohh. I’ve been eating egg on rice since I was a kid.
I learned it from my mother. Some people find it unusual
but I’m quite fond of it. I don’t add anything, though.
Just raw egg on rice is enough for my taste.
K: What’s a typical breakfast like in your country?
C: I’d say it’s a fifty-fifty between rice and bread. Actually,
I’m more of a bread person, myself.
K: I like bread, too. I also like having shokupan for breakfast.
It’s Japanese milk bread. My favorite is ampan or red bean bun.
C: Sounds tasty!
K: While we’re on the subject, I noticed something peculiar
while I was in the UK. Normally, when I buy a dozen eggs,
a dozen pencils, or a dozen of anything, I get twelve pieces.
But when I bought a baker’s dozen of bread, I was given 13.
I returned the extra but the shop owner said there was
C: You must be wondering, “are bakers bad at counting?”.
Hahaha. One story that goes about it from time immemorial is
as follows: In medieval times, the price of bread was
related to the price of wheat used to make it. If a baker
cheats about the price, they will be punished by getting
flogged and paying a fine. But it’s hard to determine how
much wheat you use to make bread. So, to make sure
they don’t come up short, they add an extra. .
K: I see. So that’s why it’s more than twelve.