There’s a spirit in my kitchen. She sends sparks through my doughy fingers kneading life into an ancient bread. I feel her swirling around in clouds of flour making scones light enough to float.
She is at once my mother and my two grandmothers. I am inspired to form breads from times when recipes came from tradition, not written, but carried across worlds to keep family threads unsevered.
“Bread is life,” my spirit tells me.
Indeed, bread is a gift beyond history, from the weathered hands of the poorest peasants fleeing oppression. Travelling as a living family member on pioneer wagons, gathering sustenance from the air as it goes, it was both the travellor and the welcoming host upon finding home.
When someone keeps coming back for more, I know I have offered more than food. I’ve had people tell me of things that happen when they eat what I bake.
“This the scone I’ve had dreams of.”
“I closed my eyes and was sitting at my grandmother’s Passover Seder.”
“This brings me home.”
A cousin, after making a corned beef and swiss sandwich from my sourdough rye bread said she “was transported to Sardi’s in Times Square.”
Bread is so much more than ingredients; it is a loaf of time travel, connection, family, love, and comfort.
And that’s why I bake.