Not-quite-daily bread

Barley bread

Barley legal bread! ^_^

When I was a child and still had all my taste buds, I did not appreciate bread. My mother was quite good at baking, I have realized that later, but bread was simply not something I wanted to taste. If I could taste the bread, it meant I did not have enough butter and jam / sausages / egg / Norwegian caviar (cod roe paste) / baked potatoes / fried pork etc on it. As far as I was concerned, bread was simply a necessary foundation on which to heap the food I wanted to taste. My parents did not appreciate this attitude, but there was little they could do: They were glad I was eating at all. I could go all day without eating and suffer no discomfort, and I actually lost weight from first grade to third grade. The only reason why I would eat at all was if there was something I liked. It was not until I was around 16 that I for the first time experienced the gnawing sensation of hunger.

My grandmother would remind me that there were many children in Africa who would have been overjoyed to have the food I did not eat. As far as I was concerned, the children in Africa were welcome to it. Bread without a generous helping of spread was definitely in my “for Africa!” category.

Perhaps I was just stupid or weird. Perhaps bread is calibrated for adult taste buds. Or perhaps even my mother, despite her cooking education, did not have the know-how and the ingredients used in bread these days. In any case, lately I have found some surprisingly tasty breads. My favorites contain less common grains and sunflower seeds. The bread this week is based on barley, although it also contains wheat. I am not allergic to wheat – in fact, my staple food for much of my life has been pasta made from durum wheat. But the barley bread just tastes better. There are a few whole sunflowers on the outside, but the sunflowers inside are all ground up and add their taste to every bite. I still don’t eat it bare, but I like to be able to taste the bread as well as the spread (preferably something with a little salt or fat, although I can’t eat more than a little fat in each meal.)

The other favorite is oat bread with sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This bread is even more “juicy”, and has more seeds in it. A bit too much pumpkin for my taste, otherwise it is close to perfect. I could certainly eat daily bread with something like that in the house. Except, by the time I return from work I am already pretty full. Add a box of yogurt and some soda and water, and I am as full as I can be and not get acid reflux. So days may pass where I eat no bread at all, or only a couple slices at most.

I find it ironic that now, this late in my life, bread tempts me to gluttony. Back when I should have eaten it, I did not want to. Human nature can be so contrary, don’t you think?

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