“With bread and wine you can walk your road.”
There is no word that encompasses more what life is all about in such a versatile way than bread.
Bread is literally what keeps us alive and what we work for, it has been used symbolically throughout history in literature and art, in politics and in speeches, it has deep meaning in religion and importance in prayer and it is ultimately what brings families together at meals. There is nothing that speaks home and security more loudly than the aroma of baked bread.
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods dating back to the Neolithic era. It is intriguing to ponder how the first bread might have come about; most likely it was a cooked versions of a paste made from roasted and ground cereal grains and water. It could have originated from accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour. Descendants of this early bread are still commonly made from various grains in many parts of the world, such as the Mexican tortilla, Indian naan and Middle Eastern pita, to mention a few.
Later, again most likely by a chance, spores of yeast could have been introduced into the dough, thus this meant the origins of leavening. Although again dating back to prehistoric times, the earliest evidence of such a bread can be traced back to Egypt. Accounts exist describing Gauls and Iberians to use the foam skimmed from beer to produce "a lighter kind of bread than other peoples."
No other food caries so much meaning in many different cultures, then bread. Every country has their own recipes, their own way of making and preparing it. It holds a deep cultural and historical significance, going back centuries in time. In the country of my origin, Slovakia, offering bread and salt is an old and a very traditional welcome greeting ceremony.
I personally love bread. And I practically live on it. There is always bread in my home and although I am a lousy cook, I have been experimenting with baking bread in the past and have made delicious loafs and roles.
Bread also holds significant memories tied to my childhood. Upon our immigration to Sweden, we could get used to pretty much all the new and unusual food and missed in a way very little from our culinary origins. All except our bread. We missed it to such a degree that my father started to bake bread on weekends and became very proficient in it. Thus through out most of my teens in Sweden, we always had fresh and home-made bread at home.
To this day, the scent of baking signified Sundays to me. The best part of the day was in the late afternoon, when the fresh roles came out of the oven and we children were called to the kitchen for a slice of fresh bread with butter.
The best evening snack I can recall, a simple pleasure and happiness, a sense of security and feeling of home, all locked into such a plain thing as a piece of bread.