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  • Writer's pictureSusan Welsh

BREAD The staff of life, the mitigator of sorrows. . .

As long as there are bread and wine, we will be fine. That's what I keep telling myself. But there's so much more that we miss as the weeks start piling up.

What do you miss most about the "old normal?"

I miss the pleasure of shopping for groceries inspirationally before it became necessary to suit up for entrance into a biohazard zone. I miss the tactile and olfactory pleasure of selecting ingredients from the produce aisle, sans masks, and gloves. I miss feeling comfortably "safe" in our local grocery store—something until now, perhaps, we all took for granted.

In our "new normal," shopping for groceries is an endless source of anxiety. Instacart doesn't deliver to our address, we can't get a pick-up slot for weeks. Maybe if ever. . . Will they have milk and eggs?

I already know I won't find flour or yeast. Recent events have turned most of us into home bakers by now. So your best bet for scoring yeast is to call an avid baker friend (sorry I'm on my last two packets).

Archeologists have discovered remnants of bread from 14,400 years ago in Jordan and bread has played an important role cross-culturally since the beginning of time. It's mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible and astronaut Buzz Aldrin even included it in a private communion service on the moon. None of this was broadcast on television amidst fear of lawsuits over separation of church and state like the one filed just months earlier after astronauts on Apollo 8 had read the Book of Genesis on Christmas Day in 1968.

Of course, there are also practical uses besides eating bread. In the 80's and '90s Wonder Bread was used to clean the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and according to Good Housekeeping, it will do the same for your walls at home. Move over Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Any bread will do, but it seems the impossibly soft, pillow-like texture of Wonder is especially effective!

But for my money (and flour and yeast) I'll eat my bread, not clean with it. And when I run through those 2 remaining packets of yeast, I" ll reach for the bottles of beer in the back of our fridge and do what our friend Missy is doing; I'll make beer bread. This one from Florence Fabricant gets stellar reviews. I'll let you know once I give it a go!

I have always loved bread but now, more than ever. I think Miguel de Cervantes said it best:

"with bread, all sorrows are less."

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