Wolves and Bread

Bread is an interesting word. You can spell it two ways and it has three or four meanings.

One day, a caveman said, “I’d like a little creature to sit on my lap and be a companion.”

tales of a lifetime

Thus, over centuries, with a wolf as a starting point, humans bred a variety of companions, some of which look like this pug.

Tales of a Lifetime

In the film Legally Blond, actress Reese Witherspoon carried Bruiser the Chihuahua around in a Louis Vuitton purse.  A Louis Vuitton dog carrier sells used for $1,475. That is a lot of bread.

I am the last person who can tell you how to grow bread—I go to my former-boss, Chris Smith for that advice—but I can tell you that the relationship of bread and money has deep cultural roots.

God cursed Adam when He expelled him from paradise, with: “You shall earn your bread with the sweat of your brow.” Tangentially, some folk consider a Bible verse a day part of their daily spiritual bread.

Archeologists date the invention of bread to 6,000 years ago. The process required the discover of edible grains of which there are only about a dozen in 1,000 plus several simultaneous inventions: a plow, to prepare the land for sowing; tools for grinding the wheat; and fire to bake the bread.

Grains used for bread were ground by hand between two stones, usually by a woman sitting on her knees for the comfort of her back. Water mills for grinding mass quantities of wheat were invented in Europe around the end of the 13th century. The miller bartered his mechanized labor for approximately 1/3 of the farmer’s wheat to be ground.

According to Alan Chapman on businessballs.com: bread, and many other British money slang terms are: “… rooted in various London communities, which for different reasons liked to use language only known in their own circles, notably wholesale markets, street traders, crime and the underworld, the docks, taxi-cab driving, and the immigrant communities.

tales of a lifetime“From cockney rhyming slang, bread and honey = money, and which gave rise to the secondary rhyming slang ‘poppy’, from poppy red = bread. Bread meaning money is also linked with the expression ‘earning a crust’, which alludes to having enough money to pay for one’s daily bread.”

Yet you should be aware that with a little bread, and a mess of cabbage (aka folding money), you can purchase a meal that will probably include, you guessed it, bread. Cabbage and corned beef won’t be on the menu until March 17th.

Now, if Chapman’s explanations didn’t make complete sense to you—don’t red poppies symbolize blood?—chalk it up to the differences between American English and the Queen’s.

The reason that I like the word bread has little to do with wolves, miniature dogs, expensive purses, Bible verses, London, England, cabbage or even the duplicitous phrase, “buns in the oven.”

That said, I can’t make bread grow, but I can make it rise.

Bakeries around 5 p.m. are off limits to because the magical scent of bread baking had lured me like a fish since childhood.

My mom taught me to make bread: Crack and egg in a bowl and add about a cup of warm water, a packet of yeast, a couple pinches of salt, about 1/3 cup of sugar and two jiggers of oil. Mix it up and let it sit for 10 minutes and it looks like something you would not want to pay bread for. However, when you knead in three or so cups of flour, let the mixture rise until it is double, punch out the air bubbles, let it rise again, (roll out and cut if you want rolls)  then bake it, you get one of my favorite foods.

tales of a lifetimeNow I could ask you for your bread in exchange for my bread, but I think it’s better that I just shared the recipe.

Don’t forget to add some butter before you wolf it down!

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