“All sorrows are less with bread. ” ~ Miquel de Cervantes Saavedra
It’s Gratituesday! Today I obsess about and express thanks for and praise the powers that be for the miraculous marvel called bread.
I’m not talking Wonder here either.
This morning I’m enjoying the delightful stylings of a new recipe I’d never tried until now; English Muffin Bread. It’s what you’d imagine given the name. Nooks and crannies, slightly chewy but crisp where the toaster has caressed it. Real butter, some grape jelly and the day can’t get much better.
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ~ James Beard
Well, the day could get better if I bake my standard bread loaves, a white bread recipe I’ve modified some by tossing in some fresh ground wheat. Mmmm. A slice of that stuff not ten minutes out of the oven atones for most anything I may have gotten wrong throughout the past twenty-four hours.
“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” ~M.F.K. Fisher (Author of “The Art of Eating”)
A braided loaf, from flour to finished only takes two hours, and disappears in less than ten minutes when family flocks around.
Other favorites? Oh, let me name a few.
- Orange bow knots
- Parker house rolls
- A cinnamon bagel
- Donuts, almost any kind
- Artisan bread
- Sour dough
- Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
- French bread
- Pita with hummus
- Garlic Naan
- Biscuits – with sausage gravy
- Corn bread
- Banana bread
- Indian Fry bread
- Pretzels – the big soft ones
- Hush puppies
No. I don’t personally bake all of those, although I’m happy to imbibe. You could almost call my love and adoration of bread an addiction, but we won’t go that far. I will say a meal seems most complete when bread hums a melody alongside the vegetables and meat.
I consider far too many meals complete with bread alone, unaccompanied by any other food, except perhaps butter or some honey. The bread-only meal provides most satisfaction when it’s warm and filling the place with the scent of heaven.
Is it any wonder that the last meal many people partake of is bread? Not to me.
“I’ve heard it said that when you die you enter a room of bright light, and that you can smell bread baking just around the corner.” ~ Rick Bass
I’ve always envisioned the manna spoken of in the Bible as bread. Freshly baked by angels in bakers hats, to sustain and lift the bodies and souls of the children of Israel. That’s just my spin on it. I couldn’t quote scripture on it. Hardly so. But it’s a nice thought. What else could you eat day in and day out for so long without getting tired of it?
My Dad has Celiac’s disease, which means, among a bunch of other not so thrilling things, he can’t eat regular bread. If I end up with that malady just put me out to pasture and let me go the way of all the earth. Oh, sure, he’s adjusted his diet to avoid gluten, but it’s just not the same thing as the breads I know and adore.
I shouldn’t be choosy though. I’m filled with gratitude as I eat each morsel and crumb. I recognize the beauty and the bounty of my life and try desperately not to take it for granted that bread will always grace my table.
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
That quote takes my breath away. Makes me want to put on the habit of a missionary and distribute bread wherever I can.
When we were dating my not-quite-yet-sweet husband planned a picnic that surely sealed the deal and made me fall in love just a little more. French bread, butter, summer sausage, cheese, complete with glass wine goblets and some bubbly. Not your ordinary picnic faire. But then, this man fell way outside the ordinary spectrum. Impressive. Delicious. Delectable.
“For less than the cost of a Big Mac, fries and a Coke, you can buy a loaf of fresh bread and some good cheese or roast beef, which you will enjoy much more.” ~Steve Albini
It’s true. Sure, it isn’t quick. It’ll require that you get out of your car and walk into a store or a deli, but it’s worth a try just this once. Stop in at the deli counter, get a few slices of a cheese that sound interesting and if you must, a few slices of ham or roast or pastrami. Then look at the lovely loaves sitting in their paper wrappers or tucked behind the counter. You can’t go wrong with any one of them. And to make the meal completely decadent, swing by the dairy case and put real butter in your basket. You’ll have a meal you don’t want to eat while watching the evening news or perusing Facebook or email.
No, you’ll want to give your full attention to the bread.
You’ll thank me. Really. You will.