Friday, April 2, 2010

Breaking Bread (B)

Easter Sunday is just another
chance for my family to declare
that cooking is not my forte'.

Although everything I cook
is quite edible and often tasty-
I have never been one of those super moms
who can fry pretty eggs,
bake a beautiful cherry pie,
or create a casserole that
can make you lick your lips.

My favorite cooking tools are
the can opener
and the microwave-
Both of which my family
frowns upon
and adamantly assures me that
Rachel Ray would not approve of.

I suppose I may have been denied
a few of those cooking genes
that my grandma possessed.

She was a wonderful cook.
A large Slavic woman
who always wore a dress and an apron-
and whose pale skin was
as sweet and as doughy
as the bread she kneaded daily.

My fondest memory of my grandma
is her bending over the oven
and pulling out a tray of hot, brown bread...
Loaves as big as an arm
and as comforting as love.

All the years I spent in
grandma's kitchen
and bread is the only thing I remember.
and cinnamon donuts from Schnuck's grocery.)

But grandmas house smelled of bread.
Sweet, solid slices of yumminess.
It was a part of the woodwork-
and the fabric-
and the soul of the family.

It was satisfying and savory.
A heritage and a tradition.
Perfect and pleasing-
grandmas bread
was greedily consumed
at every meal.

I suppose I should go on with the story.
About how I accidentally found out
that I didn't inherit my grandma's
bread cooking skills.

It was in the first year or two
of being a new bride.
I was still starstruck and invincible-
eager to please and willing to go the extra mile
to please my darling husband.

One day he requested bread.
Whole wheat bread.
Good, healthy,
Mother Earth News Says It's Great For You bread.

I smiled.
Piece of cake.
A given.
Easy Peasey.

I had often been told how I
resembled my grandma-
so it was only logical
that her baking talent
had been passed down to me also.

I had video daydreams
of those flawless loaves of bread
being snatched from the oven.
Oh...The praise!
The glory!

Well, I decided that to be whole wheat
it would have to be totally whole wheat
which apparently makes the bread heavy and dense.


So heavy, in fact,
that even our sharpest kitchen knife
could barely skim the surface.
It turned out being
a giant, brown, mishaped blob
of baked concrete.

Being the sweetheart that he was is,
my husband assured me that it
wouldn't be wasted.
I blushed with the thought
that he would eat it anyway-
simply to avoid hurting my feelings.

But instead of bringing out the butter,
he headed for the tool box
and proceeded to hammer a nail
through the firm rump my petrified prize.

"The birds will love it", he said,
adding a piece of string
and tying it from the porch rafter.

I am not sure if I laughed
or I cried,
but I knew for certain
from that day forward-
that bread baking was positively
not my legacy.

For several years later
we noticed wild birds
with broken, craggy beaks-
and even the woodpeckers
could not invade
the impenetrable force field
of my whole wheat wonder.
They suffered disturbing mutations
and distorted peckers beaks.

Well, that's my story.
Gotta go now and run errands.
Buying a nice ham,
fresh asparagus,
and some sweet corn.

and of course I'm making
a special trip to the bakery.

Happy, blessed Easter!