May 25, 2010

Happiness Is A Warm Loaf.

“With bread and wine you can walk your road.”
Spanish Proverb


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.

43 comments :

Hilary said...

I can only imagine how delicious your home smelled with fresh bread and rolls baking in the oven. Bread truly is such a basic part of so many cultures. Great post.. please pass the butter!

Reasons said...

I can smell the bread as I read...unfortunately I can only smell it as I have to eat gluten free!

SandyCarlson said...

I can smell it and almost taste it. Bread is the ultimate comfort food.

{ I V Y } said...

lovely.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Funny, I had a different kind of warm loaf in mind.

MelRoXx said...

Sounds really good.... lovely...

Elizabeth said...

Great post Zuzana.

xoxo ELizabeth

Brian Miller said...

oh goodness...it smells so good...we love bread. it can be the determining factor of if we return to a restaurant...and nothing like fresh and home made...mmm...

CherylK said...

Bread is the ultimate comfort food. There is nothing that smells as lovely as a freshly baked loaf of bread.

I really enjoyed this post, Zuzana, because I learned something new...like the bread and salt as a welcoming gift. I didn't know about that. And the photo of the fossilized bread is amazing!

Cottage Garden said...

I love bread ... thick 'doorsteps', as my dad used to call them, with lashings of creamy butter ... mmm ...the smell of a freshly baked loaf has to be the best in the world!

Interesting reading about the origins of bread Zuzana and how much this simple food means to people around the world and its cultural references. A lovely post. And now I'm off for a doorstep slice of bread and butter!

Jeanne
x

Gal Friday said...

Happiness is a Warm Loaf!
So true, so true!
I just might drag out my bread machine(yes, I cheat) today, after reading your blog. :-)

Betsy said...

There's nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread! That loaf with the flowers is beautiful!

Mr. Stupid said...

I love bread. This is an awesome post. Nice writing!:)

GYPSYWOMAN said...

so true, the simplest things holding us the longest in memories of yesteryear - and then, the bread itself! when my own children were little, i was in college full time and worked full time and raised them as a single parent simultaneously - and so time was a major commodity - as was money - in any event, one of our most favorite dinners was a freshly baked loaf of whole wheat bread - hot and smothered in land-of-lakes real butter - with strawberries - my children talk of those dinners of bread and fruit still - great post, zuzana, of the things of which memories are made!

Claus said...

What a great entry!! It is true that each country has their own version of bread, and are used to it in unimaginable ways. In Guatemala, for instance, our TORTILLAS, a very Mayan bread :-) , can't be missed with every meal. People can actually live without bread, but not without tortillas. Ours are different from Mexico's: ours are made from corn dough, and made by hand, hence its size is smaller, and they are thicker. Yum!! They are delicious, yet high in calcium, so I can't have many (kidney reasons).

As always, very interesting dear Zuzana!!
have a lovely day!

Kelly said...

I used to love walking into my grandmother's house smelling fresh baked bread. I also couldnt wait to eat that warm fresh baked bread :)
Great post and thanks for sharing.

Scribe816 said...

There’s a saying that an army travels on its stomach. Bread was a main staple of distant warriors. As you say bread’s history goes back a long way.
In fact I think I read about archeologists finding a ‘Wonder Bread’ logo carved along with other cave drawings.
(Smile and have a great day ;-)))

Julie Hibbard said...

Best titled blog post ever...
I can smell the bread baking...oh yum! Have a great week!

Rebecca said...

Amazing post as usual! You know, I need to have that Spanish Proverb displayed in my kitchen:..

I sure had my fair share over the weekend... :^)

Kath said...

I love to eat bread, but I can't stand the smell of it baking. Our breadmaker has to be kept in the garage!

sprinkles said...

Once in awhile I'll go to my parents house and my dad will be making bread with his breadmaker. It smells soooooooo good and I'm always very impatient waiting for it to do it's thing and then waiting some more before it can be cut, buttered and eaten!

Sometimes, just a plain peice of bread makes a nice snack!

Calli said...

I so love bread. These photos were mouth watering, but that wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that I started on a quickie South beach Diet run again, and am not allowed bread........:(

I love visiting, Zuzana. Wish I could do it more often.
Be well~
~Calli xxoo

Rustique Gal said...

Zuzana, what a lovely post. I gotta say that I got really fat on bread! I loved it so much that I made toast ALL the time with tons of butter and cinnamon/sugar. I now have gotten rid of the toaster, had lap band surgery, and lo, I can hardly eat bread anymore. I have found other ways to nurture myself, luckily! I'm much slimmer and healthier now, and bread is an occasional treat--Ambrosia to me! Sherry

Absolutely Ladylike said...

Words cannot describe how much I love bread...I even love more making them...Unfortunately I just decided I'll make a hard diet and will not eat bread on the next 5 months...I'm going to miss it sooooo much...

Hope you're having a great weekend dearest Zuzana!

Much love: Evi

Rajesh said...

You have beautifully put together the importance of bread. Yes, people do earn money to have their share of bread for survival.

Rajesh said...

You have beautifully put together the importance of bread. Yes, people do earn money to have their share of bread for survival.

steviewren said...

Homemade rolls...my mouth is watering at the thought. When I was younger I used to make homemade wheat bread. As soon as it came out of the oven I would slice off one of the ends and slather butter all over it...there is nothing better.

Dan said...

A lovely post Zuzana. I often wonder how things came into being too - I guess most of them are just happy accidents. Perhaps bread is the same. I don't know what it is about the smell of warm bread that makes it so appealling. I have had justa couple of goes at making loaves - both successful - a bit too successful really, they didn't last an afternoon before being scoffed!
Enjoyed your reminisces of your childhood associations with bread too.
Dan
-x-

Gal Friday said...

Because I subscribed to this topic and could read all the comments left here after mine, I saw what Kath wrote about not liking the smell of baking bread! I was surprised by this, since this is almost a universally loved scent. Perhaps there is a strong aversion to the yeasty smell, Kath? I like baking bread scents, BUT here in the USA, we have a chain of sandwich shops called "Subway" and the smell of the bread they "make" is so bad--I can't go in one. It makes me want to be sick. So, it might be the same for you with all bread. This was so interesting to me--how we are all so different in tastes. What is loved by some, is not tolerated by others(for instance, I can't stand the smell of anything cheesy or vinegary)

*sorry, Zuzanna, I have rambled and taken over a bit at YOUR blog...

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

Thinking of bread reminds me of a bread called the Arabic Bread that I had once in Dubai Airport... Delicious I must say!!! That's the best bread I've ever tasted!!!

Standing in the junction on 3 rivers
Fashion Panache - The Stripey Dress

Jill said...

A perfectly TASTY post Zuzana!!! The smell of fresh bread baking is a HEAVEN!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hello from our travels dear Zuzana,

I love this post and marveled at the pic of the bread from Pompeii. So amazing.

I used to bake bread to augment my miserable existence when I was in college. Loaded my bike basket up with my little loaves and delivered them to the people who subscribed to my bread.

For my son (now grown), the scent of baking bread means home, and soon, melting butter on a the crusty end piece (or the hoof as he called it).

Sending love to you across the miles,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Bachelor said...

wow... do I ever love bread.. a real comfort food. A great post!
:) The Bach

Sukanya said...

Such a lovely post Zuzana. I totally agree to every line of it. Im wondering what made you write about bread all of a sudden !!! :)

Have a great day Zuzana.

Cheers,
Sukanya

Paul C said...

This is wonderful and your traditional bread sounds delicious. I love to eat a multigrain bread a local bakery prepares with some good borscht that I enjoy making. Excellent post.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I adore homemade bread!!!!! And in fact, I've owned several 'bread making' machines...I wear them out :-) And yes, you ARE RIGHT!!! Nothing says home as much as the smell of freshly baked bread!!! Oh, my friend...visiting with you ALWAYS makes me so happy...it is so wonderful to be understood!!! Love you, Janine XO

Vagabonde said...

I like to smell bread and croissants baking in the French bakeries, that is the best smell I think. I also like the smell of strong coffee – of course that goes well with the croissants.

Michael Manning said...

Zuzana: I hope you will forgive my tardiness. Trevor's fundraiser is requiring my time and guidance. But I so appreciate your visit and supportiveness.

My late father was a baker from the time he arrived at Ellis Island from Europe until seven years before I was born. He focused on bread, twist rolls and bagels--nothing complicated. This post reminded me of stories of him. lol! :)

Sandy at Teacup Lane said...

Excellent post Zuzana. I agree with you. I love bread so much my hubby teases me about it. There is nothing like fresh, warm bread just out of the oven. Yummy, yummy!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

So interesting indeed!

Zuzana said...

Hilary, Joanne, Sandy, Ivy (welcome), Cosmo, Mel, Elizabeth, Brian, Cheryl, Jeanne, Tina, Betsy, Mr. Stupid, Gypsywoman, Claudia, Kelly, Scribe, Julie, Rebecca, Kath, sprinkles, Calli, Sherry, Evi, Rajesh, Stevie, Dan, Mitr, Jill, Sahron, The Bach, Sukanya, Paul, Janine, Vagabonde, Michael, Sandy and Philip; so many beautiful sentiments expressed in your kind words.
I guess bread speaks a universal language of love and comfort. I loved your versatile comments and enjoyed immensely learning about what this food, which is deeply anchored to our ancient roots, mean to all of you.

Thank you so much for sharing with me your own opinions and thoughts; your visits are always much appreciated.

Xoxo
Zuzana

Jingle said...

u r capable of everything!
these are beautiful.
xxx

Jingle said...

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awards 4 u,
Happy Friday!