Tuesday, 8 January 2013


I love bread almost as much as I love bakeries. I have grown up  with the taste of bread which my mother made changing over time.  When I was a child, there was the discovery from a friend of hers of how to use the same dough that you used for loaves and  to shape it into balls to provide for individual amounts. This dough would expand  and provide a different type of growth. This was at a time when she was having challenges with six young to teenage children, children of both sexes.  Over the years, her bread  has nurtured young adults and  grandchildren many times over. There is the knowledge that bread is made on a Sunday and sometimes twice in the week and you can always have to take home with you. It can be eaten with butter or cheese or anything that you would like to eat it with. You knew that the taste and texture would change by the next day as slicing open a hot from the oven bread is so different from eating day old bread, so you eat at least one the night the bread is baked.
Over time, buying bread was a treat, a sneaky way to spend money and as such I have eaten hops from a fair number of places with an equal number of differences in type of bread. From the kind that is crusty and you spew a set of flakes/pieces of the crust with each bite, to the soft doughy kind that you tear or pull off a piece because your teeth are not sharp enough and your hand  needs to go in the direction opposite to your mouth with each bite, to the home made kind that is substantial enough that one goes a long way both in the time it takes to eat  it and the time it takes to move after eating.
I have eaten hops in Barbados discovering early one  morning years ago at a local shop hops with the equivalent of an accra as a filling.  The bread that was shaped the same way and was  close in size was a reminder of home, and  having eaten the accra, an acknowledgement that though we are alike, we are so different in our tastes.
The taste of white bread in Curacao is unique. There is a dryness to the bread that allows for crispiness in toasting, with the slices thin enough that you can eat three slices quite easily.  Chosing one  slice of each type of bread with   a nod to healthy eating in choosing dark brown, light brown and white on some days.  There is also the consistency of the taste and texture of the  breads from the supermarket to the hotel,  the taste of each bread is the same, guaranteed.
Back to home and  bread, there was the discovery of bread at a supermarket in St James where the height of the bread was  enough to make my eyes pop and becoming enarmored when the texture  inside was soft, good for toasting, with it being soft enough that if you made the slices too thin the bread was likely to tear. There is the bread at Jacquelines on the Avenue, that is close to heavenly with a certain white loaf coming in two sizes and acknowledging that for the taste of the bread, it is worth spending the price asked, as the taste and texture was worth it. Knowing that others felt the same way as these loaves would finish early in the evening.  I remember attending a workshop trying to improve myself and talking to myself that for the price, if the food was good, the content of the course could be so so, and  it would have been money well spent. The main part of the meal was  good, but the bread elevated it to another standard, warm, having recently come from the oven covered in a dish cloth, soft enough inside, great tasting and there was butter to go with it. What more can you ask for?

Copyright Jennifer Bailey

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