I thought it was a good day to make bread. I have a family tradition of making bread on Saturdays, or when ever it feels like a good bread making day. I then got thinking about the significance of this tradition and why women do it. This lead me to finding a wonderful film made by Mariette Sluyter who taught others to make bread, and Bread is the name of her NFB Film that she documented, telling the stories of six women, all who baked bread.
There is something so grounding, and very special about the process of making bread. Anyone who makes their own bread knows this to be true. For most women baking bread it is an ancient practice, and has a cultural significance that provided the sustenance of life, and it connects us to one another because it is prevalent in all cultures. The word "companion" comes from the Latin word "with bread'.
My fondest memories are of the sweet and comforting aroma of my grandmother's fresh bread, slathering it with butter, while it was still warm from the oven. I am so glad my mother passed this tradition down to me, and when I make bread I feel this connection to my mother, and with all the grandmothers, past, present, and future.
“Bread reflects who we are as a species; the basic ingredients are the same but the outcomes are different. It is the same with humans: we share the basic building blocks but it is cultural practice that changes the outcomes. It is through breaking bread together, figuratively or literally, in a spirit of open, curious learning that we can transcend what divides us.”
- Mariette Sluyter
The video below is of a group of joyful women laughing, talking, and participating in bread making, and you will see how creative this bread making can be.
I have no idea what nationality these women are or the language they're speaking, but it is a beautiful thing to see how they interact laughing, enjoying themselves, and are bonded with one another.
I tried out a few of these artistic techniques with my bread making today, making three regular loaves, and a few other small braided buns.