On baking bread, buying bread, and breaking bread

A delicious carb has become a flashpoint

Hi friends,

During quarantine, there are some things we have to do. We have to social distance, we have to limit our grocery shopping and trips outside, we need to avoid physical group interactions and dense areas.

But do we need to make bread?

I’ve struggled with this as the weeks have gone by. Some days I’m full of energy, taking an early morning walk, cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even squeezing in a home workout. On other days, it feels heavy to just work, answer texts, and try to move my body a little bit. Today is a little bit like that and there’s no right or wrong way to handle this, as long as you’re not harming yourself or others.

From a cooking perspective, I’ve been reminded how much I like variety. I probably drove my parents crazy as a kid because I would complain if we ate the same thing for dinner within two weeks. Since I’m usually cooking for 1, I either cook a small amount of something or have to eat the same thing for days.

But anyway, on to bread. People are making it in droves even though yeast and flour are hard to find (some bakeries are selling sourdough starter). Sourdough is a tough kind of bread to make since you need to spend days feeding and growing your starter (which has to be fed with flour) before you can make a single loaf. It seems like a very fun project and the results can be delicious, but it’s not a project I’ll be attempting soon.

I absolutely see the value in these types of projects. When I wrote about people making kombucha during the quarantine, many of them mentioned that the process helps them mark the passage of time, which is very important right now. If Tuesday feels like Monday which feels like Wednesday, having to feed something on schedule gives some purpose.

I’ve been buying bread from a local restaurant, Lighthouse, where you can add a loaf of sourdough to your order. Many bakeries are delivering or offering takeout, though more and more restaurants are closing their takeout and delivery options due to safety concerns. I also made challah a few weeks ago and will resume that practice after Passover (other non-sourdough breads you can try: focaccia, banana, flatbread, pita). I know a few of you are making challah today, please share your pictures on Instagram. I’d love to see.

The thing I miss, more than eating delicious restaurant bread with a variety of dips and cheeses, is breaking bread with people! Sharing food off a single platter is a way to spread germs and a cozy table full of friends is a liability. But don’t you remember how much fun it is?

One thing that has really helped is hosting happy hours. We had our second one last night and it was a blast. Everyone’s eating and drinking separately, but it feels communal. Julia and I have been putting out snacks for each one, olives, and cheese, and crackers, as if we’re having guests. In a way, it still feels like we are.

I’m doing my next happy hour on April 23rd and I’d love to see you there (will share the Zoom info as it gets closer, but mark your calendars). Just like with the IRL happy hours, you are more than welcome to come if we’ve never met in person. I take the role of host very seriously!

If bread is on your mind more than usual, know you’re not alone. With Passover fast approaching, I’m also thinking about eight days without it, which will be tough. Oh, and if your family is having trouble scheduling a weeknight seder, consider doing a brunch! I also love this #NextYearinPerson campaign with lots of ideas for virtual seders.

I hope you have a good weekend and eat something delicious. Tip your delivery people, stay safe, and take care of each other.

xo, Abigail

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