Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This I Believe (too)

I believe in making bread.

I love the texture and taste of homemade bread. I love the smell of a well-cooked crust. I love knowing which ingredients I and my family are eating ... no mystery chemicals this time.

I especially love the excitement of my daughter when it is time to take the bread out and she has waited patiently (or not so) to get to taste the first piece. She does a little jig, then a giggle, and her hands involuntarily plunge out in the "give me" stance. I ask her what she wants on it. "Honey bear, honey bear" is invariably the reply. We watch the butter melt then add the honey from the bear-shaped bottle. It melts too.

She eats.

I wait.

Finally, after mouthfuls of crust and innards have been disposed, I hear the critique, "it's 'ummy, mommy, 'ank you."

My husband comes home and the bread is no longer hot. Only faint hints of the fresh bread aroma remain. I serve him dinner. I include some bread. The scene nearly repeats itself. "This bread is so good, honey. It turned out great again, you rock." He thanks me five more times before our heads occupy our pillows.

Baking bread definitely makes sense in a cost/benefit world. It costs me a little bit of time and a few ingredients but the benefits go beyond healthier eating or more economical feeding. The biggest benefit is the love.

Bread making is all about love.

I was talking to my mom a few weeks ago and she had just taught a bread making class for Enrichment*. Most of the women who signed up to attend were younger mothers. As my mother prepared and prayed about this assignment she was convinced that her real purpose was to teach these women that bread making is all about love. You can buy good bread (especially in Utah where there are bread stores everywhere), that isn't necessarily the point. The point is that in baking bread you show others you care for them.

I had a friend from graduate school who made bread. He once said to me, "I'll never use a bread machine because how else can I knead the love into my bread?" He knew that bread making is about love.

As I was thinking about this concept, I thought about how often Christ is referred to as the "Bread of Life" in the scriptures. We are told to partake from the Bread frequently and generously. Each week we partake of the Sacramental bread in remembrance of Him.I think there is no coincidence that He chose to compare Himself to bread. Bread sustains and comforts. Bread fills and satisfies. Bread is love. Think about it, is there any other kind of food that even makes sense when you try to use it as an analogy for Christ? I've tried to earnestly think of a few and they just sound lame. Spinach is very fortifying but that definitely doesn't work. Chocolate is comforting but still falls short. Hot oatmeal warms and fills but ... nah.

I believe in bread making. It is one of the ways I show love. In eating it with excitement, delight, and enthusiasm, my family returns that love.

*Enrichment is short for Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment. At least once a month women from congregations of the LDS church get together to learn and share and do in ways that are enriching to themselves, their families, and others. It is fairly informal and usually is held in someone's home. For more information go here.

6 response(s):

Layne said...

I'm murdering this dubiously-sourced quote, but I think someone said, "Is it too optimistic to believe that the world could be healed with homemade bread?"

Charlotte said...

This is one of my favorite Heidi posts of all-time.

Thanks so much for writing it.

Amy said...

It's funny...my kids can tell if I've kneaded the bread by hand or used the bread maker. The bread maker bread has always been a big disappointment to them. "No, mom, you need to make it with your *hands*! It just tastes so much better." :-)

Jenny said...

I'm not sure if Richard has read this post yet because he is at work, but he will love it. He has been on a bread making kick lately and I know I love it! And I really do think he puts love into it and he does a delicious job! Thanks for the beautifully worded post!

Jill said...

I had to laugh to myself when I read your post. Although I loved your imagery and description. I loved your passion and love for bread making....but all I could see where the PATHETIC.. mounds.. (they don't deserve to be called rolls) of rock hard wheat substance I served to my family last night. Made... with love.. by me! What is wrong with me!? Do I not love them enough? lol I guess I'll keep trying. Your post has inspired me. :-)

michellejohnnie said...

Awesome Post! I really need to attempt to make bread! I think it sounds cool, but am afraid that it will turn out like a hard brick! This post makes me think I should just get over my fear and do it!