It didn’t look like much, zipped into a plastic bag and, well there’s no other word for it, fermenting on my desk.
But my friend Allie asked me if I’d like some friendship starter and, if there’s anything I’ve learned in this long life of mine, it is to open my heart to friendship. So, I said yes to the friendship bread and, in the 10 (ahem, 11) days I spent with it, I learned it was a perfect metaphor for the relationship it represents.
You have to tend to your friendship bread, but it’s also forgiving. I know this because I missed a day and my 10-day recipe became an 11-day one, but the bread turned out just fine. Isn’t friendship like that? Thankfully, mine are.
You have to lean in, though, dust the edges of the pan thoroughly, sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar on top. My friends don’t ask a lot of me, but they do appreciate my time (and I theirs). It’s important to shove aside the clutter in our lives occasionally, to make room for our friends. Send a little sugar their way, let them spice up your life.
If you commit to a friend, you have to see it through — go camping if you said you would, even though you’re scared; meet for dinner on a day your work ran long; remember the birthdays and anniversaries; listen. I came home late on the day I had to finish my bread and I wasn’t pleased to have to bang around the kitchen well past my bedtime. But, that bread made my whole house smell delightful. I ate a piece of warm, friendship bread before I went to bed and I slept like a pudgy baby.
Of course, friendship is meant to be shared, and so is friendship bread. I hadn’t read the recipe all the way through when the night came to finish it off and I had to improvise a little. My recipe ended up making one large loaf and two smaller ones. I gave the smaller loaves, with a starter and the recipe, to two friends.
In another 10 days, I’ll have more loaves and starter to give.
The bread is rich and that seems right too. I know my own life is infinitely richer for all of the wonderful friends I’ve made a long the way.