|Bread is in the eye of the beholder.|
June 10: The recipe for a “life-changing” gluten-free bread appears on Food52. Gazing at the picture, you shake your head. Calling this brick of nuts and seeds "bread" is like calling soy paste shaped into a cylinder “sausage.” You write a note to a friend: “I would eat this -- it looks very crunchy and tasty -- but it's not bread. In 30 years we'll be scoffing at the ridiculous things we cooked and believed about nutrition in 2014. It's the honey-sweetened carob brownie of our era.”
You tell ‘em, Jennifer. What a snot. But you grew up on health foods and look where that got you? You’re no healthier today than all your friends from the 1970s who got to eat real brownies.
July 15: You stop by your sister’s house to drop off the DVDs of Borgen. She says, “I want you to taste this strange health bread Margi (friend) made.” She toasts and butters a slice of dense, seedy bread and presents it to you. You take a bite. It has a complex texture and nutty flavor with just a hint of underlying slime. The slime doesn’t bother you at all, just adds to the complexity. You say, “Oh my God, this is amazing bread! I love this. Where did Margi get the recipe?”
Sigh. Of course.
July 16: Why are all the people who work at Whole Foods so young and groovy and all the people who work at Safeway so . . . not? Do the managers at Whole Foods look for fabulous people with nose rings who are saving for a trek through Nepal while the managers at Safeway look for downtrodden lifers with kids? Honestly, you prefer Safeway, but for today’s errand -- buying the ingredients for that delicious bread -- you must endure Whole Foods. You search around and finally have to steel yourself to ask one of the groovy clerks: “Where can I find the psyllium husks?” It turns out they're about 2 feet away from the chia seeds, also on your list. Then, so the cashier can be sure you’re a real nut, you grab a bottle of a coconut probiotic drink from the refrigerator case.
July 17: You mix the dough, which isn't beautiful and springy like yeasted bread dough, but a damp, rough, swarthy paste. You let it sit for a few hours and then bake the paste. You cut a slice. Divine. It has the rich flavor of coconut oil and that pleasant hint of slime -- from the psyllium husks? the flaxseeds? -- plus lots of gentle crunch. Perhaps it’s a bit crumbly, but you can fix that in future loaves.
July 18: Mark was skeptical but loves the bread. He calls it “birdseed bread” and toasts it for breakfast and dinner. You eat a piece with butter for your afternoon snack. YUM! A new staple for the household. You don’t personally care that it’s gluten-free, but appreciate that it’s so full of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids from the chia seeds. You’re not sure exactly what fatty acids are or why Omega 3s are good, you just know they are.
July 19: You have a piece of the bread for breakfast with some avocado. Maybe the coconut oil flavor is a bit unctuous. Perhaps there's still a place in your life for the occasional Acme baguette.
July 20: You have another piece of the bread with butter for a snack. Today, it brings to mind an under-seasoned veggie burger. You can't finish your snack.
July 21: You think about having a piece for breakfast. You stare at the remainder of the loaf, oily and coarse, and try to think how you can make it palatable. Peanut butter? Jam? Yuck. No. What happened? You adored this bread only three days ago! Mark looks at you looking at the bread and says, “I'm done. It’s bread you can only take in very small doses.”
You take the remaining chunk of bread down to the dung pit, a.k.a. yard, for the chickens, but the goats head butt the birds out of the way so they can have at it. Bullies. If they'd asked nicely, maybe you'd let them keep it. Instead, you take the bread away from the goats and crumble it into tiny pieces that you scatter all over the yard. The chickens devour the crumbs, which means their eggs will be full of Omega 3s, whatever those are. You just know they’re good for you.