Since COVID-19 hit, most of people in the world were literally forced to stay home for months. Soon social media was hit with one of the key trends of 2020 – baking bread at home. For months I was resistant to participate, first of all, because I am a terrible baker. My husband regularly asks me NOT to bake! However, once I tried making bread at home – I literally could not stop. To me, it is not just about making a nice appetiser (or whatever category bread falls into). It is about empowerment. Hear me out!
I grew up in Ukraine, and most of my relatives are either from Russia or Ukraine. I grew up hearing about stories how my grandparents, born in 1935, survived hunger and second world war. For them, bread is precious. They see it as desert – add butter (and sugar) or cheese or jam and you are set! I remember when I was small, I was done with my dinner but some bread was still on my plate. I wanted to throw it out but my grandparents stopped me. They looked at me with horror and informed me that it is a crime to throw bread away. Regardless if I am full or not, I have to finish my bread. As they survived hunger of war years, they never throw food away. Moreover, just because you are ‘done’ with bread, it does not mean it can be wasted – it can be shared with animals or birds.
When I was in kindergarten, I remember that we were also taught to respect bread. Because of what bread represents – the amount of effort it takes for nature to produce and grow grains, for people to pick them up, make them into a flour and use it to bake bread. The journey that it takes for bread before you find it in a store is significant, it involves a large number of people, technology and many months of work.
However, it is more than the journey and number of people involved. Bread is also about empowerment. Once you learn to make bread, your life will not be the same. First of all, it is very easy – in few hours you can see the product of your labour. This also gives you an assurance that at any point of time, if you are hungry or running out of food – with just few ingredients you can produce something that can literally feed your entire family. You no longer depend on the schedule of bakeries or grocery stores nearby. Since COVID hit, I have noticed many food places shutting down their doors as early as 5 or 8pm. But now that you get this skill, you only depend on your own schedule. It is liberating!
You also control the good ingredients that go into your bread to ensure they are no preservatives that make bread last for months. Normal fresh bread lasts 2-3 days. In fact, in Europe you get fresh bread every 1-2 days. That’s why you see many French women carrying baguettes when you visit France – because they only eat fresh.
If you are inspired by my post, here is a link to a recipe for bread. It only takes few ingredients and your home will smell amazing – I promise!