You’ve heard of #100HappyDays? Well, I stole the idea and adapted to fit my blogging schedule.
Every day is filled with reasons to be thankful. And yet the majority of my day isn’t spent being thankful. That’s got to change. God sent his son to save me - HUGE reason to always be thankful. And I’ve been freed to live a new life through Christ, released from fear, doubt, shame and self-reliance, equipped with love to serve others and blessed with all kinds of daily tasks and jobs to express my love. And that’s just the big stuff.
This is #100ThankfulWeeks to praise Him. I’m sharing one simple thing I’m thankful for each week. Because there can never be to much thankfulness.
Week 35: Fungus
“What is cheese made of?” I’m about six and I’m already a cheese addict. The kind of addict you can’t trust alone with a cheese tray.
“It’s a kind of mold,” my dad says. And even if that’s not quite accurate, it was enough to capture the attention of this six-year-old cheese addict. “They add a special mold to milk and it eventually turns into cheese.”
Something about the way my dad explained it made me think that there might be something strange about eating mold. “What’s mold made of then?” I ask. The only mold I can think of is the black stuff growing along the bathroom tub caulk.
“Well…” And my dad thinks for a moment. Because how do you describe mold to a six-year-old? “It’s kind of like super-small animals that don’t have any arms or legs,” my dad starts. “And there’s hundreds and thousands of them, all living and growing together. And the longer they live together, the more of them there are.”
Kind of inaccurate, but how do you describe a fungus colony to someone who doesn’t really grasp the concept of a colony? But Dad’s answer seems to make sense to this six-year-old. “So is the cheese still growing?” I ask.
“Sort of,” my dad says. “But if the mold grows too much, you can’t eat the cheese. Too much mold and it’s not good anymore.”
Kind of a sketchy answer, but to this day I still think of cheese as a living mold. Although most cheeses do not contain any mold. And most cheeses are not produced by adding mold to milk. Nevertheless, to me cheese is always that living fungus that could go from edible to inedible as soon as the population of mold grows too big.
Even if most cheeses aren’t made using mold, fungus are incredible little organisms. Without fungus, no blue cheese. Without fungus, no penicillin or amoxicillin or any other -cillin. Without fungus, no yeast, no yeasted breads, no beers. Without fungus, no mushrooms. And without fungus, there’d be nothing to break down rotting plants, fruits and vegetables, animal carcasses and discarded waste.
These microscopic creatures are brilliantly equipped to thrive wherever they can find food. And sources of food are nearly limitless with many types of fungus capable of breaking down both organic and inorganic engineered products. Such as bathroom tub caulk. Or roof shingles. Or concrete slabs. And these thriving little organisms are wildly reproductive, often growing exponentially in just a matter of days. Which explains why one day there’s no sign of mold on the cheese and the next day it’s covered in white fuzz.
Fungus may not be much to look at. It may be a hassle in the bathroom and an pest with fresh fruit. But without fungus, we’d all be sitting in our own non-decomposed waste and plagued by untreatable maladies. Fungus is an incredible blessing - and it’s everywhere.
Thank you for creating such a wide diversity of fungus capable of so many tasks. Thank you for helping us discover myriad uses for these tiny organisms and help us put them to work in serving others. Instead of grumbling about bathroom mold or fuzzing strawberries, help me to be thankful for these amazing creatures and all they bring to life.
Have you ever tried creating your own natural starter yeast at home? It's on my list of experiments to try...