This Thanksgiving one thing I miss the most is mom making homemade bread for Thanksgiving. I can smell the bread baking in my memory as I write this. One of the most comforting memories a person can have is the smell of love coming from the kitchen from the hands of the one person who loves them the most in this world.
Baking bread was a coming of age moment in my life. I remember one Saturday when mom said today is the day you are going to learn to bake bread! It is no different than teaching one to drive a car! Mom scratching her head in frustration when I couldn’t do the hand motion she wanted me to do to mix the bread. Bread in mom’s large family was made in a large dish pan and mixed by hand. Yielding 8 to 10 loaves and about 2 dozen rolls at a time. This too, would be how I learned to bake bread. Nothing measured all felt and a knowing, Cup your hand, and salt to this small are in the palm of your hand. Feel that temperature? That’s the temperature for your water for your yeast. Not too hot but enough to sting on the wrist. Mound up the flour in the pan, and put your liquid in center, slowly work it in around the sides. And, of course, the old wife’s tale of you need to have it mixed by 830 or it won’t turn out. Either that, or it was mom’s way of getting me moving in the morning of bread baking day, which only happened on a Saturdays. On winter days it would be accompanied by a pot of chilli, and fried bread dough left over from the batch. Most often deliberately saved back. The treat of the day, flattened out like a pancake and fried in a little lard and turned over. With butter and jelly! This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my moms teaching me to bake bread, though I rarely do it now days. It’s the love we shared in the process that matters the most. Love you mom