Give us this day our daily bread

We can trace nearly all of human history through grain.

I know this, and have discussed it at length, because I am currently isolated with a young baker who was supposed to be headed to Paris next week to attend Boulangerie School.

Yesterday, she turned some old dried cranberries and an unused bag of prunes into the most delicious Povitica, a Croatian bread.

I thought about the rings in a tree and how they tell our stories as I marveled at Molly’s beautiful bread. I wonder what the trees will say about this global pandemic when we examine their rings years from now.

I know, because Molly has been baking bread almost as long as she’s been alive, that warm water and sugar activate yeast and that’s what causes bread to rise.

We humans are like that too. Encouraged by warmth and sweetness, we rise to the occasions in our lives.

When you get scared, as I do, and worry about your 81-year old mother who is not at all built for self-quarantine, and your sister, who has battled back stage 4 cancer for nearly four years, and your daughter, who is so far from family and can’t get home, and your son, who recently had the grim task of laying off staff members, and your nephew, who is wheel-chair bound and vulnerable, think about ancient grains and the astonishing stories of human triumph they trace.

Bread will sustain us on a physical level, and spiritual level as well.

We are lucky to have a gifted baker in our house, and having her home will make the challenge of COVID-19 more palatable on every level.

I hope you all enjoy the bread of life by whatever means you can — in your soul and in your belly, toasted, gluten-free, slathered with peanut butter, crust on, crust off, store bought or fresh out of the oven.

And, if you’re running low and have the means, give your local bakery a ring and ask for a delivery.

We need to keep the bread bakers in business too.

Molly whipped this up out of ingredients I dug up while I was straightening our lazy susan. I had planned to toss the cranberries, but she had a better idea. Apparently, she soaked all the dried fruit in orange juice, orange peel, ginger and cinnamon, and blended it to make a paste. Our whole house smelled amazing and, while I was initially only being polite when I sort of gingerly sliced a piece, I genuinely loved it and kept slicing off pieces throughout the day. I’m definitely going to need to up my in-home workout routine while Molly is in the house.
These are sad and scary times, but it is good to have my Molly home.
These loaves are from the Patisserie 46 in Minneapolis, where Molly worked post college. She would like me to point out that they are still producing delicious bread, pastries, cookies and desserts and could definitely use your patronage. Likewise, our local bakeries including Simple Simon and Whisk and Arrow. They all have curbside pickup and some delivery options.

3 thoughts on “Give us this day our daily bread

  1. I wonder how this experience will change our everyday lives in the future. Not just being better prepared, but new habits or procedures that we tried during this pandemic that will carry forward, i.e. more work at home, new technology that may be created to address this issue, or new attitudes. Every crisis changes society like the Great Depression and 9/11. (This comment flows from Laura’s question about the tree rings).

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