Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's so great about sliced bread?

Life in the Balkans certainly has its deficits, but going out in the morning to the corner bakery to pick up a loaf of bread still warm from the wood-fired oven is not one of them.  Having to slice it myself is a small price to pay.

In our early days in Albania there were sometimes bread shortages and consequently long lines at the bakery.   Let me rephrase that; there were never really lines in the strictest sense of the word.  More like a rugby scrum.   Then there was the time I chipped a tooth on a rock in a loaf of bread.  Someone later explained to me that the rocks get in there when they sweep the flour off the floor.  But none of these traumatic experiences -- having to fight for my food and having to go to the dentist -- were enough to put me off Balkan bread.

I got to talking about bread the other day with a friend from this part of the world who spent a little time in the States.  Overall I think that he was pretty overwhelmed with a lot of his  experiences, but our American bread made a lasting impression on him.  "I put in the fridge and forgot about it," he said.  "A month later, it was exactly the same!  It hadn't changed even the tiniest bit -- for good or for bad!"

I realize that the old saying, "the greatest thing since sliced bread" is probably a weak target since most people use it with a certain amount of irony.  Speaking of old sayings, remember the line from the Lord's prayer:  "Give us this day our daily bread"?  Here in this part of the world, that still makes sense.


Rebecca said...

You are making me hungry!!!!

Jennie said...

Fresh hot bread that can be sliced or pulled apart beats 'sliced bread' anytime.