Breaking Bread

Growing up, my dad used to always say: Kid, we break bread, we don’t slice it.

I think he was being slightly silly, although, with his strict Catholic upbringing, and my own (slightly less) strict Catholic upbringing, I’m sure there was some kind of religious overtone to it. We come together, and we break bread.

I tried to do the whole sourdough starter thing initially during Covid, like so many of us did, but patience is not something I have much of, and time, especially back then, is not something I had much of, either. So labouring over a starter in random glass jars in our kitchen only lasted a few weeks. I never ended up making the bread.

However, it’s snowing as I’m writing this, and one of my favourite bloggers posted a bread recipe that I had to try, so I did, and it was great, and now I’m sharing it with you. An actual recipe! Albeit one I didn’t come up with….but, finally, a recipe to share. It’s been a while.

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking over the last 2.5 years, it’s just that I haven’t been creating. All recipes I’ve made have been from others: I’ve come up with literally nothing new on my own. I look at ingredients in my pantry and fridge and think: what do I do with all of this? I don’t remember how to begin, how to create, what to choose, or why. It’s like the act of creating something new totally left my body. I don’t know where it went, and I’m not sure how to get it back, other than simply: chop, press, bake, boil, eat.

Typically, when stuck in a rut, the fastest way to get out of the said rut is to do something: just move in some way. Yoga helps, walking help, jumping up and down helps, dancing helps. Any kind of movement gets the blood going and the mind pausing, and that’s when the good stuff can come in: Once the mind pauses.

And that place: That place is hard to get to. My mind is never at ease. I’m constantly going, thinking, scouting, worrying, applying, mapping. Never sitting in silence. Maybe that’s why the creating stopped, and maybe that’s how to get it back: Move into silence.

As I break into this bread, I’m working on noticing the browning of the crust, the crumbs that are falling on the counter, the way the light hits the textures, the way the butter is melting, the way the sweet taste lights up my taste buds. I’m noticing. And that’s something I rarely do.

I hope we all can take some time this winter for noticing, for sitting, for being in silence, for creating, for baking, and for breaking bread.