Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, September 25, 2015

Breaking Bread

Worth fighting for . . .
In the Stringam household of eighty years ago, all food was prepared from scratch.
Processed or instant foods simply didn't exist.
Nothing came packaged from the store.
Bread was something that emerged, nearly every day, from the oven of the large wood stove.
No other option was possible.
No other option was needed.
Grandma's crusty, fresh bread, hot from the oven, was the favourite food of my Dad's family of nine brothers and sisters and their home was nearly always awash in the wonderful smell.
But each large, beautiful loaf only had two ends.
Because bad manners hadn't been invented yet, it never occurred to Dad and his siblings that they could do anything about that.
Side note: My husband and his brothers, the creators of bad manners, would cut off every available surface – sides, top, bottom – after the ends had been claimed.
But I digress . . .
So, as the time drew nearer for the family to assemble for the evening meal, Grandma Stringam would slice one entire loaf of fresh, warm bread.
And place it neatly on a platter to go to the table.
That was about the time that every child in the house would suddenly appear.
And wrestle each other for the privilege of 'helping'.
Bruised but triumphant, the winner would carefully carry the precious platter of warm deliciousness to the table and park it in the centre.
Then he would quickly snatch one of the two crusty ends and set it on his own plate.
At first, the sacred placing of the bread was all that was needed.
But not for long.
Soon, the instant the bread was placed and the claimer gone, someone else would creep in and slide said crusty slice of yumminess to their own plate.
Then the next person would do the same.
And the next.
This would go on until everyone assembled for the actual meal.
Whoever possessed it at that time . . . won. Sort of like a game of 'hot potato', but tastier.
As time went by, more and more sneakiness was required.
The bread was placed under the plate.
Under the napkin.
Stabbed with the owner's fork.
The owner's knife.
Finally, in full view of whoever happened to be waiting in the wings for their turn, the possessor would lick the back of the hotly contested piece of bread. (Okay, remember what I said about manners? Forget it.) Then place the now-thoroughly-claimed prize on their plate.
The entire contest came to a screeching halt.
But only for a while . . .
Gramma and Grampa Stringam.
Oh, the bread she could bake . . .

14 comments:

  1. If only she knew the evil she created by baking that treasured deliciousness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I saw the bread, it called my name. As do your very sweet tales. That game sounds...interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carol! I don't think I'd want to try it, though! :)

      Delete
  3. " ... the creators of bad manners ..." hahahahahaha!!!

    There is nothing like fresh baked bread with real butter.

    But a slice of toasted home made bread with real butter comes close.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mmm. Why have they never made a perfume which smells of freshly baked bread? Totally irresistable. After my father retired my mother got up to freshly baked bread every morning...
    My brothers were early exponents of publically licking treat food too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Funny! I haven't had homemade bread in ages and now my mouth is watering for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The power of suggestion. Sometimes good. Sometimes . . .

      Delete
  6. I want to learn to bake bread like that. You don't happen to have the recipe do you? Would you share it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't, Rena! I have some recipes, but not Gramma Stringam's. Rats!

      Delete
  7. your bread picture is making my mouth water. I've never been able to make a decent loaf, so I buy my bread. I echo Rena, if you have the recipe could you share it please? I'm prepared to give it another try, even though I don't have a wood oven and I know they're the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to call around to my cousins and see what they have . . .

      Delete

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