Some more thoughts about details:
When I was a kid, we lived down the block from not one but two kosher bakeries; I think my parents moved to the neighborhood for this fact alone. My grandfather was a baker, and my mother grew up behind the counter, ankle-deep in sawdust. So bread was serious business in our household. One of my first responsibilities as a child was to make the important purchase, once or twice a week, of a loaf of "the best" (which I suspect my mother scoped out beforehand, since she seemed to know, sight unseen, if this was an ideal week for pumpernickel). I received exact instructions: Rye bread with caraway seeds, but never marble rye. Horn rolls with sesame seeds. Poppy seeds, if a proper, evenly-distributed amount, were fine on anything within reason. Italian or French bread if we were feeling particularly exotic. Pumpernickel, sliced. (Unsliced was rustic, old-fashioned, and unacceptable.) Rolls, six at a time, hard but not brittle and never warm; prime was a half-day old. I never carried a crib sheet. The rule was unspoken, but I knew I had to commit all instructions to memory, as if making them a part of myself.
(To be continued.)