Bread Making101

I made bread today.   Not such a feat for me. I used to make it, regularly. But like many busy parents, I found it easier to buy it from the local grocer.

I  find myself returning to the rituals ingrained in me while growing up in a small, rural Maine community. Control of ingredients and cost are motivating reasons. Other spillover effects are health benefits, fabulous aromas that fill my home, and smiles I see on everyone’s face when they dig in.

Today I made bread.  As I kneaded the dough, my thoughts traveled to bread makers before me. I thought of my grandmother teaching my brother bread making. “Now add a handful of shortening” she directed. I don’t believe my grandmother exactly measured an ingredient a day in her long life. But this time she failed to consider the size of her 6’4″ student. You didn’t question my grandmother.  He dutifully pulled out half the can.

Memories. The human beings way of carrying the past into the future.

This is one way the “Greatest Generation” failed. There were memories they didn’t bring forward. Memories of war. Not from television viewing, but participation. Hunger and poverty, because they were children of the “Great Depression”. These were not memories that fostered comfort and well-being. They were better left in the past. Instead, perhaps from fear and insecurity, they encouraged sons and daughters to join the military. Their tables were laden with more food than necessary. “Bigger is Better”. “Survival of the fittest”. “Charge it!”

And so my generation grew. War chests amassed.  Corporations absorbed resources; growing into monopolies with business deals no longer sealed with merely a handshake. Grow it bigger and grow it faster. Have too much? Throw the excess away. Charge it – a sign of success. Rugged individualism the guiding principle.

As I continued to knead the dough, I lapsed into thoughts of my children and their friends returning to the basics of life. Not because it is trendy, but because it is the right thing to do and is satisfying. They have watched and learned from earlier generations and are carrying the memory of those lessons into the future. Their concerns are of carbon footprints, economics, health and general well-being. They often walk or bike instead of driving. They work in businesses, then pay it forward after hours with community service. Wwoofing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms -volunteer organization) or buying their own farms to develop. They make dinner at home with locally grown ingredients.

We “knead” memories.

This new generation will be okay.

I made bread today. 


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