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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Divine Bread

I love bread, and I especially love a homemade loaf, fresh out of the oven. Yesterday I made some very yummy breakfast rolls that JM hasn't been able to stop raving about. There's nothing better than fresh bread.

Something JM and I have been wondering about is the origin of bread. It seems like such an unlikely creation. In my mind, the first instance of bread making went something like this: "Hmm... I think I'll take grain, grind it up, mix it with water, oil, honey, etc. Then I'll beat the mixture into submission, leave it for a few hours, then put it in the fire until it becomes something quite different."

It must have been divine, right? God must have told Eve how to make it. I can't imagine humans coming up with the idea on their own. Who first thought of grinding grain? The only reason I know of for having flour is to bake with it. Otherwise, why not eat the grains whole? Which came first, flour or bread? Not to mention the whole yeast thing. Of course, yeast occurs naturally in the air (witness sourdough breads which use no added yeast), but if I had made some food and left it for a while, I would probably have thrown it out if I came back a few hours later and it had doubled in size and started smelling differently -- that's usually a sign that the food will kill you, or at least make you very sick. But who knows...back then, food safety was somewhat non-existent and thus life spans were quite a bit shorter. They might've thought "Wow, we're on to something! This food doubled itself!"

We're going to stick with the idea that bread is a gift from God.

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6 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Alan

    Yep. A gift from God, just like ice cream ;-)

    I wonder what other wonderful things God might have shown us how to make, if we had remained in Eden long enough.

  • CappuccinoLife

    I'd never thought of it that way, but you might be right! It is a very interesting question.

  • Sara

    Not to be rude, but- that's a rather disappointing explanation. I can't think of how this originated, so it must have been god? That's like someone looking at, say, an oven, or a car, or dental floss, and thinking, wow, how could anyone of have thought of this? Must have been god! And stopping there, rather than wandering over to the nearest encyclopedia and trying to figure out out for themselves.

    Here's a link to a cool website that might help you answer your question:

    http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodbreads.html

  • Michelle

    Just tonight I was enjoying a warm roll slathered with butter. I was savoring every bite. My husband just looked at me and shook his head. He doesn't care for bread that much. Is that possible?? I tell him it's because he's Indian :D

  • JunkMale

    Sara,

    It's unfortunate that you were disappointed, but the post was slightly tongue-in-cheek anyway. I have a hunch that no explanation that invokes Godly involvement will be sufficient for you.

    I did do a bit of reading on the origin of bread, but saw nothing that satisfied the curiosity. In other words, I wanted to know how people ever found out how to make bread. Since bread goes back so far in time, it's not surprising that we don't know exactly how. (But I did catch that part of the page that says the earliest breads were unleavened)

    BTW, I can fully see how developments like ovens, transportation, and dental floss might have come about. In my opinion, those things do not require as many seemingly random and sometimes counterintuitive steps as breadmaking.

  • Ewokgirl

    This post cracked me up because I've harbored those same thoughts about fish sauce, commonly used in Thai food. Seriously, who was the person who thought, "Wow, these fish have rotted into sludge and smell really foul. I think I'll try cooking with it!"

    I, too, enjoy fresh-baked bread. I haven't made any in a while. I should probably do something about that!