Thursday, February 02, 2006

269. Bread


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.)


Regina said...

It makes me hungry just reading this post! Seriously, though, for me, details do make whatever the subject is, a part of you. You get to know the nitty gritty of something, its basics, its beginnings. When I am first learning about something new, I devour anything I can about it, down to the last minutia- that makes it real for me.

alto artist said...

I'm the same way...although I sometimes struggle (as I've begun to realize, during the process of thinking about this d'var) with being overwhelmed by all that new information, and missing the whole point of what I'm doing as a result.

~Jan said...

Okay, that was just mean...I'm dieting, and this post literally made my mouth water.

Lovely writing.

alto artist said...

Thank you, and I'm sorry! I'll write about Brussels sprouts or liver next...