Continuing in my series of searches. Tonight I search for bread and what do I find?
Consider bread. Even a cursory survey yields an enormous range of meanings. Bread is the stuff of life. Failing that, it is at least a starch staple for the western world. It is the minimum daily requirement for which Christians praise the Lord and to which prisoners are reduced for punishment. Bread is the hip term for money and the symbol both of Christ’s Body and the Jew’s escape from Egypt.
Bread is filler, like the lighter part of the seven o’clock news. It is stuffing both for turkeys and for us. Although both the Old Testament and the New are replete with grainy allusions, contemporary bread serves as the universal symbol of spiritual impoverishment. My father liked to take a piece of American white factory-sliced bread, roll it in the palm of his hands and hurl it at the wall. It would bounce listlessly back like a dead tennis ball. Sometimes, instead of throwing it he simply pressed it against the wall, where it would stick like rubber cement. While that seems, out of context, like wildly aberrant behavior, my father was really just expressing his amusement and amazement at finding himself in a culture that ate this stuff.
Bread itself is a designer of possibilities. Freed of responsibility for nutrition or flavor, it is not only filler but format, lending coherence to sandwiches and dictating the size of bologna, the shape of toasters, the dimensions of picnic boxes.
The Story Behind a Loaf of Bread. A Short History of Bread. A Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making. Breaducation: A Brief History of Bread. Museum of Bread Culture in Ulm Germany. The Museum Of Bread in St. Petersburg. Wiki Bread. The History of bread Yeast. How did early man first come-up with the idea of bread? Breads and Other Cultures.
-The Blessings of Bread, Adrian Bailey.
History of White Bread. The History of a Mouthful of Bread by Jean Macé. The Science of Bread. Ingredients. The cyber toaster museum. Not by bread alone. The greatest thing since sliced bread. “It’s the best thing since sliced bread!” Okay, then, when was that? Sliced bread illegal? What was the best thing before sliced bread? The Symbolism of Bread. Liturgical use of bread. Bread from heaven. Miracle of the Bread and Fish.
What makes bread? An elastic material (the gluten in wheat flour) expanded to a spongy mass. What makes the holes in the spongy mass? Gas expanding inside it. And what makes the gas? Yeast, a microscopic plant, Saccharomyces cerivisae, about 1/4000 as long as its name which takes apart sugars and starches to make carbon dioxide gas. The gas makes bubbles in the dough, which expand during baking to make the holes.
You could get a good loaf of bread in Rome. Around 2,000 years ago Romans had bread of every kind (the city itself used 14,000,000 bushels of wheat every year): light bread, dark bread, sweet bread, salty bread, rolls, flatbreads, square breads, all kinds. Bakers ground wheat shipped from Egypt and North Africa, baked it, and sold the loaves to be eaten dry or dipped in water, wine or goat’s milk.
In the Middle Ages bread was most of the meal, and it was the dish too: folks ate on pieces of stalish, unleavened bread called trenchers, about six inches by four inches, which sopped up the juices. After the meal the trenchers were given to the servants or the poor.
Millers and bakers -and later engineers and chemists- pursued whiteness in bread, assuming that whiter bread was purer. Without the wheat germ and its bit of oil, the flour would not spoil and could be kept for a long time, an advantage for the miller only. They milled their flour, sieved it, bleached it with harsh and dangerous chemicals, and added ridiculous white powders to make it bright—ash, alum, chalk, yech! The whiter it got, the less nutritious it became.
-The Bakers, Jan Adkins.
The Conquest of Bread by P. Krapotkin. Labor is Bread -Who doesn’t work doesn’t eat. A bread line. Crankshafts or bread. The bread and roses strike of 1912. Song Sheet: A Loaf of Bread. Song sheet: Bread and cheese and kisses. Song sheet: Will friendship buy us bread? Bread and circuses. Wiki bread and circuses. Prosphora. Bread stamps. More bread stamps. Anthroporphic bread. Bread Sculpture. The story of bread with Ms. Sunbeam. The dangers of bread. Signing: bread.