When I think about bread, my thoughts venture beyond nutritional value. The flour rich delicacy is a jack of all trades. Coffee breaks and breakfasts seemed incomplete minus garlic stick breads, biscuits or slices of flat bread, pancakes or doughnuts. During recess or breaks in schools or offices, bread varieties are far from being absent. They fill grocery shelves. Food chains carry doughnuts, pancakes or cookies as their specialities.
If you travel by bus or plan to take a hike, what is the virtually weightless, compact snack you carry without hurting your back? Bags of biscuits, cookies or sandwiches will surely fill your backpacks. They do not require utensils and paper plates.
Feeling hunger pangs while too busy typing documents on your computer? What is the best food to consume when you are preoccupied with writing on paper? You can even play cards while munching a sandwich. Take The Earl of sandwich as historical example. Many historians claim the term “sandwich” got its name from the 18th century British statesman who didn’t want to leave a poker game so he can eat his meal. He tucked meat between two loaves of bread rather than take a break. I am sure he was winning, otherwise he would breathe fresh air then eat a complete meal.
During the Last Supper, Jesus Christ broke bread then shared them with his disciples as remembrance of his body. This is commemorated in the Holy Communion, an important part of Catholic masses. During the Passover, Jews ate unleavened bread they carried out Egypt. God served them manna from heaven as they fled persecution. Bread symbolizes the gift of life, a blessing all religions hold dear.
An inspirational speaker said that consuming healthy food means we do not have to take multivitamins. Ingredients used in concocting medicines are found in plants and animals. Aside from green leafy vegetables, fish, fruits and eggs, plant-based produce offer a complete array of nutrition. Low in fat, bread is rich in vitamins B and E along with calcium, potassium and magnesium. The grain-based staple also contains a high level of amino acids and minerals. Like bananas, bread fills our bodies with energy. When you are engaged in numerous activities requiring extensive physical movement and long attention spans, why not munch a cookie, loafs of pan or biscuits.
In far flung school in rural areas across The Philipines, high energy cookies and biscuits are served by volunteer groups or the local government health officers. You can enjoy having malunggay enriched pan de sal, an oblong-shaped bread roll common in many Filipinos’ tables. Malunggay is rich in Vitamins A, B and C as well as protein and iron. Cassava, also common in this country, is used as flour additive similar to malunggay.
Seldom do you notice food formed in numerous shapes, from a circle with a hole in the middle, like a doughnut to an elongate chain we seen in pretzels. Biscuits are shaped into flowers, animals, boats, cars, airplanes letters of the alphabet or numbers. Cakes are platforms where you put everything your recipient loves. Birthday cakes are pictures symbolizing the gift of life. When I was a child, mom placed tiny plastic tanks and fighter planes together with a birthday candle signifying my age. Sometimes, super heroes or cartoon characters replaced them. While the dough is being formed, the baker’s imagination takes over. He can carve anything that stirs up the imagination.
Take the sandwich as sample. We can combine one ingredient after another, similar to what The Earl of Sandwich thought of. My favourite combination includes scrambled eggs coated with hot catsup then topped by mayonnaise. Another simple top pick is glazing garlic butter on the flatbread.
Why not try bread barbecue? Apply layers of liver spread across the loaf’s surface. Add barbecue sauce then cut the bread into rectangular-shaped cubes. Finally, insert a barbecue stick in the middle then grill. Make sure to watch your barbecue. If you overcook, your bread barbecue would taste as bitter as a spoonful of salt.
Durability exemplifies one important qualities bread entails. Bread lasts a week. It does not spoil easily even if you place them outside the refrigerator for a few days. Thus, campers, travellers and people who are too busy to cook prefer sandwiches as their all in one meal.
Working overtime means almost no minutes to spare for preparing meals. Bread retains its taste even when it is warm. For workaholics, bread’s their dietary saviour. Pair bread with coffee, juice or soda and you’ve got your temporary relief from hunger pangs. A few loaves would keep you full until you reach home. If your shelves and refrigerator are already filled to the brim, bread can stay on the table until they have enough space.
There are uses for sour bread so do not dispose them inside garbage bags. They still have value. Just imagine turning garbage into gold. Toss a spoonful of shredded stale bread in your hot and sour soup to add a strong flavour. You can stuff crumples stale bread inside dressed chickens and fish bellies. Mix it with grinded tomatoes, onion and garlic then steam or grill.
You need bread crumbs in making pudding. Blend the crumbs with ground pork or ground beef. You don’t have to clamp two burger buns over your hamburger patty. Assuming leftover bread gets very, very stale, the spoiled remains can feed birds and ducks. Ducks eat anything. My next door neighbours serve their ducks spoiled rice, fish and meat. They even gobble banana skins. It’s all around dietary value makes bread a necessary presence in kitchens.
Bread’s other innovative uses include being a cure for hangovers. Do you want to avoid getting drunk easily? Try cookies or biscuits as finger foods. Did you make the mistake of eating too much spice? Bread reduces the burning sensation your tongue suffers. They absorb smelly odors too. When I think bread, I ponder upon the difference it brings to our lives. Indeed, bread fills up numerous needs. That’s why bread is like manna from heaven.