How often are we “breaking bread” with others? As I sit down with our aging community I see a consistent theme; they made time for each other. They made Sundays a special day of family and friends gathering to not only feast on a meal but to sit down (slow down) and enjoy each other’s conversation. They shared stories; bonding over deeper connections through communication that wasn’t just a “how are you”. They thrived on the stories that were passed down, enjoyed spending relaxed time with one another without a text, email or work deadline looming over the head. They continued this E.V.E.R.Y. Sunday.
Deep down, I want this. I think our society in this hustle and bustle, filled with phone distractions really wants this. Think about it, do we stop for a whole day and do nothing but relish in the feast, conversation and just being with each other? I hesitate to ask if we even do this for an hour out of an entire week. I know the question I struggle with is “but how do we go back”? How do we create an environment that is free from distraction, free from surface conversation, free from a to do list; yet builds connection through conversation and food?
To start I think it begins with a plan. We have to be intentional about our, dare I say “Sabbath” time. For me, if I don’t plan for the day or time I allow “other things” to eat at my day, driving me further away from my time of “intentional rest”. From there is the fun part, planning what we eat together and the activities that will bring us closer in connection and build conversation. Food brings people together. Food makes conversation. Food has been a part of our culture, providing the stories of tradition and recipes passed down. We connect over a meal.
The idea of Breaking Bread was just that. We wanted to gather individuals who craved to learn how to make traditional breads that were often passed down through our generations. We wanted to give them the tools to take back into their home kitchens in order to make those particular breads for their families. Giving them an opportunity to not only “break that bread” with other family members but to pass on the skills that they learned to our younger generations.
Our first class of French bread shared the story of Herbert Ernest, a Captain in the 110th Quartermaster Baking Company during WWII. His company had 163 enlisted men with 5 officers. These men would take down, pickup, put together ever 2 months 48 ovens, mixers, pans and small wares so that they could provide bread and pastries to the United States Army.
And here I am complaining about making a homemade loaf in my own kitchen that has blessed me with two ovens…..
Herbert and his men provided, quite literally the bread of life to our soldiers. They made over 50 million pounds of bread and kept of troops alive and well.
This story provides me with so much- the passion to bake bread for my family, the perseverance to make the effort thinking about what these men did, and how important it is to bring bread to the table as it provides life and reminds us about the life it has given to others.
We learned many tips and tricks to making a French loaf this past Saturday that I have been implementing this week. Realizing my over proofed bread lays flatter and that allowing the bread to rise in the fridge gives it much more flavor. I’m looking forward to Biscuits next week and in the meantime will be taste testing many loaves of French bread, sharing it with neighbors, eating it at a family gatherings and letting my little ones help in making the next loaf. Come and join me in Breaking Bread!