Our daily bread story is a reflection of my childhood.
Our Daily Bread
Mom taught us to never throw away bread. NEVER! It’s sacred.
I take two slices outside (they’ve been ignored on my counter for too long) and hope that birds and squirrels will appreciate this unexpected feast. I even crumble them to ensure they will be eaten and not wasted. Mom wouldn’t like wasted bread.
Walking across the backyard, my toes get wet from the morning dew and the squeaking of my sandals trigger memories. Not ones of wet toes and squeaky sandals, but the memories of mom and our daily bread.
She knew so many ways to use up old bread. Growing up, a fresh bread loaf was bought every day. That was one of my chores. I would walk home from the corner shop, some three blocks away, all the while nibbling on the warm soft bread, inhaling its mouth-watering aroma.
Mom would get upset about my testing of the bread’s freshness only if I’d bring home less than the ¾ of the loaf. Dad would be displeased every time we cut into the fresh loaf before we finished yesterday’s. I didn’t understand his reasoning; he didn’t want to listen to mine. Why, if we have to finish the old bread first, we might never get to the fresh one and so we’ll be eating day-old bread for the rest of our lives! Are you with me here?
Mom came to the rescue with traditions of using up the not-so-fresh bread so my brother and I wouldn’t have to eat it the next day. As a child, you eat what is put on a plate without questioning and for the most part without appreciation. Funny how I realize that now.
There was bread pudding for dinner and French toast for breakfast; mom needed homemade breadcrumbs and croutons; she would make us warm sandwiches from the oven and tell us that chunks of bread in soups are a delicacy in far away countries.
My favorite bread meal, however, was bread pieces poured with cold milk. That was the most inexpensive and most simple way to consume old bread. Bread and Milk.
If you were lucky and behaved well all day, mom would let you have seconds with….wait for it….SUGAR in it! Now, that’s what I called a treat! It was usually me that deserved it and I loved teasing my big brother that I’m moms’ favorite. I even believed I was.
I can’t remember the last time I had bread with milk.
On the oak branch above me, two baby squirrels are patiently waiting for me to leave so that they can start indulging in bread. Would they like it soaked in milk?
I walk away wondering which childhood memories my daughter will fetch with her wet toes and squeaky sandals some twenty years ahead.