For November 17. When I was growing up, my mother made bread every week. It was nothing fancy, just plain white bread which she often put raisins in to give it more nutritional value. She used the same dough for everything, from loaves of bread to rolls to sticky buns (yum!) to pizza dough. One of the things my sisters and I still laugh about is Saturday night pizza with raisins in the crust.
I also often make my own bread, but it’s not likely to be plain white. I usually use wheat flour now, and use different recipes according to what I’m making, whether that’s a plain loaf of bread or rolls or one of my favorites, focaccia bread.
Although this holiday is always celebrated on the same date, no one seems to know how or when it came about. It is possible it was started by the Homemade Bread Day Committee of Montague, Michigan, and perhaps in the mid-1970s.
However, about bread itself, we know quite a bit. Quoting from one of my go-to sites, gone-ta-pott: “Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods, dating back to the Neolithic era. The first breads produced were probably cooked versions of a grain-paste, made from ground cereal grains and water, and may have been developed by accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour. Descendants of these early breads are still commonly made from various grains worldwide, including the Iranian (Persian) lavashs, tabuns, sangaks, Mexican tortilla, Indian chapatis, rotis and naans, Scottish oatcake, North American jonnycake, Middle Eastern pita, and Ethiopian injera. The basic flat breads of this type also formed a staple in the diet of many early civilizations with the Sumerians eating a type of barley flat cake, and the 12th century BC Egyptians being able to purchase a flat bread called ta from stalls in the village streets. The development of leavened bread can probably also be traced to prehistoric times. Yeast spores occur everywhere, including the surface of cereal grains, so any dough left to rest will become naturally leavened. Although leavening is likely of prehistoric origin, the earliest archaeological evidence is from ancient Egypt. Scanning electron microscopy has detected yeast cells in some ancient Egyptian loaves.”
So celebrate a bit of human history, particularly women’s history, and made yourself some bread today!
Quotes about bread
How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?–Julia Child
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
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
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.–Omar Khayyam
There is not a thing that is more positive than bread.–Fyodor Dostoevsky
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.–James Beard
With bread all sorrows are less.–Miguel de Cervantes
Without bread all is misery.–William Cobbett
Man does not live by bread alone, even presliced bread.–D. W. Brogan
I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it.–in ’Housekeeping In Old Virginia’
Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.–Nikoli Berdyaev
If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily.–Chinese proverb
Rather a piece of bread with a happy heart than wealth with grief.–Egyptian Proverb
Better dry bread in peacetime than meat in wartime.–Hungarian Proverb
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