best thing since sliced bread*

Image via the Google LIFE image archive.

This morning I woke up and did something I never thought I’d do: I baked a loaf of sandwich bread.

Sure, sure, I’ve written extensively about my love of No-Knead Bread, but this just might be a step too far.

See, when I was in school, I had a crazy person for a mom. She made me re-use the same brown paper bag to carry my lunch every day for a week, because it would be wasteful for me to throw a bag away every single day, when they could be re-used. She probably would have made me carry a lunchbox, but I threw a wailing hissyfit about how UNCOOL lunchboxes were and BUT ALL THE COOL KIDS CARRY THEIR LUNCHES IN BROWN PAPER BAAAAGGGGGGSSSSSS. As if the cool kids gave two shits about what my lunch was carried in, but these things strangely matter in high school. So, I carried my lunch in brown paper bags, which I carefully folded and tucked into my pocket to take home and use again the next day. Because clearly, my mom wanted me to be unpopular.

Beyond the bags, there was what I carried in them. Always, always a turkey sandwich with ranch dressing. But the bread, well… it wasn’t NORMAL. It didn’t come in a nice little sleeve all sliced up from the store. Nope. It was the uncoolest bread ever. It was made by my mom in her breadmaker, and the last slice was always wonky because it had a hole in it from the machine’s little kneading paddle. The slices were always slightly uneven and often too thick, and I was, for some bizarre reason, convinced the other kids would think I was like, poor or something because I didn’t have normal store-bought bread. Yep. I looked gift bread in the mouth and basically acted like a brat over BREAD. What can I say? I went to a “rich kid” high school where even bread and lunchbags could be status symbols.

Fast forward to today and my high school self is rolling her eyes at me as I proof dough and shape loaves. It’s possible that in the new locavore, DIY, Etsy world we live in, homemade bread is now actually more of a status symbol than I thought store-bought bread was in high school. But it’s also possible that homemade bread just tastes better, especially warm from the oven and slathered in butter. I love the way my house smells all yeasty and delicious. I love the satisfaction of making something with my own hands. I love knowing exactly what is in my food. And I love my mom for lovingly baking bread and packing lunches and taking such good care of me, even when I was such an ungrateful brat. I’ll have to bake her a loaf sometime…

*the title of this post comes from what Jon always says about my homemade bread: “It’s the best thing since sliced bread!”

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