Fifty-nine days on GAPS. Stage 4. This week, we felt both the luxury of rolling in the dough and the sting of coming down to our last crumb.
In Stage 4 we added bread, made from pulverized nuts. It’s hard to believe something as hard and crunchy as a nut could be transformed into something so soft, so moist, and so spongy. But perhaps this is what marked our humanity thousands and thousands of years ago apart from the meat-only and vegetable-only eaters—the ability to combine different ingredients and transform them via fire into a sum greater than its parts. Maybe the fact that bread was such a miracle 30,000 years ago is why we have so many idioms about it today.
I know it certainly felt like a miracle to me, melting with a ghostlike sweetness in my mouth. In fact, I told Jason that I were offered a choice between a slice of a bread right now or a huge bowl of chocolate-caramel-marshmallow-fudge ice cream right now, I’d take the bread. And Logan felt the same way. He demanded a slice for breakfast, he wanted it in his lunchbox for lunch, he refused anything else for snack, and he wanted some before bed. All at once, I’m thrilled he’s actually allowed to have something he likes and dismayed it’s going to cost near $30 a loaf.
$30 a loaf. If we eat this with any regularity, our bank account will be nothing but crumbs in no time.
It’s been roughly a year since I’ve bought sandwich bread*, so I had to Google how much it costs. Here’s what came up first in my search, in a discussion forum on ChowHound:
“I keep seeing loaves of bread for about $3.75 in the grocery stores and $4.00 -$5.00 in bakeries/bread stores. Even the cheap bread is almost $3. Large families who go through several loaves a week must really hate the prices. It is more than I want to spend.”
This woman doesn’t want to spend $3 on bread? Good lord.
I should say I was just like her a couple years ago; I always filled my shopping cart with the cheapest value-brand bread I could find. But thanks to my son and all we’ve learned about diet recently, I am starting to question our outrage at paying more for quality food, all so we can spend more on things like electronics or jewelry or junk. We don’t really protest paying more; we’ve simply chosen where we accept paying more, and where we don’t.
And in this regard, bread is still a symbol of everything that makes us unique: we value convenience over health (though it’s possible this is an American trait rather than a human trait).
It also reflects our value of innovation over quality. When mass-produced, pre-sliced bread was introduced in 1928 by Otto Rohwedder, it was hyped as “the greatest step forward in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” When Wonder started selling it nationally in the early ‘30s, it sold like wildfire, even though it was less nutritious. But, as The Atlantic pointed out in a 2013 article, never bet against American laziness. “Bakers who thought American families wouldn’t want a service that saved them seconds at the kitchen counter clearly didn’t understand the time demands of American families.”
I find it hard to believe the time demands of families in the 1930s were more hectic than today, but it’s all relative, I guess. Perhaps our lives in the 2090s will be busier than they are today, and someone reading my blog will look back and think, how quaint. She’s thinks she’s too busy to cook, work, parent, and write!
And convenience is relative, too. While the nut-bread we made this week did take a long time to prep and bake (and man, then it took an additional three seconds to hand-slice), it still makes my life less crazy. We can make a double batch on Sunday to last us through the week, and when I’m losing my mind at 4:30 a.m. trying to make lunch and breakfast and wash dishes, I can simply pull out a slice and send to daycare and preschool for an easy snack. And each time I did so this week, I gave thanks for the miracle of bread.
For the bread I described above, Jason used Danielle Walker’s World-Famous Sandwich Bread recipe from Against All Grain; it truly is the best thing since sliced bread. He also made his own Grain-free Flatbread that was also delicious (and cheaper). We turned them into a snack by topping them with ghee, cinnamon and stevia. I asked him for his recipe to include here, but he doesn’t remember exactly measurements close enough for it to even be helpful. A mixture of almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, coconut oil and water to thin it to the consistency he wanted.
*Disclaimer: While I haven’t bought sandwich bread in that long, it has been in our pantry–my husband does buy it for himself and our younger daughter.