I Ate Bread In The Car And Turned Into My Mother

Did you know it’s a mistake to go into a grocery store early in the morning? It’s true. Not because it’s a bad time to shop (it’s actually pretty empty and easy to get in and get out fast), but because it’s a bad time to know the store has a bakery.

We may eat with our eyes, but we grocery shop with our noses. I stopped in a big-box store near the pool after the morning workout, to get some important things, like chicken, ground turkey, ear plugs, eye drops, and bananas. Next thing you know, the cart takes a hard charge forward towards the smell of carbs and sugar. Cookies, doughnuts, rolls, cakes, brownies, and bread. My downfall forever is bread. I take after my mother on this.

Back in the day when small bakeries were the place to buy high-calorie creations, my mother bought cookies and pastries for weekly card and mah jongg gatherings, and she bought rye bread. Sliced to order by the counter help, it had a shiny crust, lots of seeds and that sweet-sour tang that only really good rye bread brings to the palate. Not once did a complete loaf of rye bread ever make it home. She ate the ends in the car ride home. It was her favorite part, and besides, “None of you like the ends anyway,” she always said.

That might have been true back then, but no more. I cherish the ends of any loaf of bread, because it’s more bread-y to me. A firmer texture that stands up to being toasted, dunked, and slathered. This morning, my takeaway loaf of choice was sourdough. I learned to love sourdough thanks to a childhood trip to San Francisco. I find the almost fermented quality perfect with nothing more than a lot of butter.

I nibbled on the end of the loaf at stoplights on the way home, which is what my mother did all those decades ago, and made the connection. Over 10 years she’s gone, and it’s amazing how some flour, yeast, salt, and water can build a bridge.

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