Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On bread

A sure-fire pick-me-up when I was lonely during the time that I lived in Spain was to go shopping. This was because I could be social and talk to people and not stay in my apartment. Also, it was easy to speak shopping language (it's just pleasantries and numbers and money--easy things to talk about in Spanish). A favorite kiosk was the bread stall, mostly because the old man who sold bread, who was about as crusty as the bread, called me guapa. Every time.

But the bread...

In Spain, the bread is exceedingly fresh and uniform throughout the country. It's just plain good fresh white bread. (My Swiss friend Sonja--there you are again, dear--thought that the bread had better variety in Switzerland and after visiting her there, I'd have to agree. But I digress.) In Spain, like in other Mediterranean countries, It's not eaten with butter, except at breakfast. It doesn't last more than a day. (A good way to eat leftovers is to grate a tomato and add olive oil and salt and pepper and spread it on toasted bread.) But it's elegant.

One of my first impressions of Spain was eating lunch with an elegant Spanish woman, who ate continental style (fork in left hand, knife in right), and put her small portion of bread on the table beside the plate.

Around here, we're bread snobs. La Brea does the job. So does the bread machine. So, add bread to the list of essentials, but only if it's the good stuff.

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