friday feast: a miracle of flour, yeast, and metaphor

“Peace goes into the making of a poem, as flour goes into the making of bread.” ~ Pablo Neruda

Franck Dangereux’s Oil Bread via The Food Fox (click for recipe)

The other day, after rereading Lesléa Newman’s, “According to Bread,” one of my favorite poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (Pomelo Books, 2013), chewy, mouthwatering bread names playfully called to me, each a poem unto itself.

Bagel, Brioche, Baguette . . . Ciabatta, Challah, Chapati . . . Kulcha, Lavash, Focaccia, Tortilla, Pita, Zwieback.

Play with us, they said. Roll, pat, toss us! Slice, butter, dip, fill, break us. We know we smell good. 🙂

Bread is a beautiful thing — venerable, inclusive, eternal, irresistible. Staff of life and a sacrament, it pays our way and is a gift from every culture and ethnicity in the world.

Rosemary Focaccia via My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball (click for recipe)

Just naming these breads makes me happy. I daresay I feel a tad cosmopolitan because I’ve actually tasted all of them and more. What do you reach for when the bread basket is passed around?

In Lesléa’s poem, it’s nice to be reminded that bread is the one food that unites us all. Her fabulous extended metaphor is powerful poetic gluten that makes this poem rock any way you slice it.

* * *

Toast typography via Adam Hesling

by Lesléa Newman

I may be a crusty old heel
full of half-baked ideas
I may loaf around
and do a crummy job

We both know
I always need dough
and more often than not
my life is toast

So tear me apart
eat me alive
swallow me whole
or punch me down

as long as you butter me up
and knead me, honey
whenever you’re in a jam
I will rise

Copyright © 2013 by Lesléa Newman. Reprinted by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd. 

* * *

Ciabatta via America’s Test Kitchen (click for recipe)

Roti, proja, piadina. Melonpan, naan, michetta. Matzo, hushpuppy, hoecake, scone, muffin, doughnut.

Scientific studies (ahem!) claim that a person’s choice of bread says a lot about his/her personality. If you favor White, for example, you’re likely a traditionalist. Pumpernickel lovers are thought to be deep thinkers, while those who go for Multigrain are practical and health conscious.

What’s that? You like Sourdough? Hello, lively and vibrant person! I’d love to chat you up in the City by the Bay. And listen to me, sublime Mr. Flatbread: I know your simple, understated appearance masks a very exotic soul. Speak to me of foreign lands, ancient cultures, chiles and curries. You seduce with the fragrance of oregano and rosemary. 🙂

What’s Mr. Cornelius’s favorite bread?

It’s a toss-up between this:

Easy Bread Machine Teddy Bear Bread via Want What You Have (click for recipe)

and these :):

Cute Bear Buns via enjoy living sustainably (click for recipe)

As for me, just call me Papadum:

Mango Chicken Papadums via (click for recipe)

Not necessarily my fave bread, but I sure love its name.

Don’t you love how bread leavens the playing field? 🙂

* * *

poetryfriday180Now you knead to check out today’s Poetry Friday Roundup. The lovely Ms. Tara has the full menu of poetic goodies at A Teaching Life.

Have a fabulous Labor Day weekend, baking bread and loafing around. 🙂

Fresh-baked loafers via DaDaDa e-shop

Arepa, Babka, Coppia Ferrarese.

End of  roll call.


Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

38 thoughts on “friday feast: a miracle of flour, yeast, and metaphor

  1. I love “knead me, honey” 🙂 Thank you, Jama and Leslea! I love all kinds of bread.. .sourdough is definitely a favorite. I’ve been buying white mountain wheat bread for kids’ lunches, and I always have to sneak a slice. No low-carb diet for me! xo


    1. I’m not surprised that you like Sourdough since you fit the profile perfectly. But as you say — all kinds of bread are good. Hmmmm, maybe I need to get a bread machine . . .


  2. Why you little punsters, you! You always rise to the occasion! love the poem, and all the bread pics and recipes. I have to say, I have tasted all of the listed breads too, except kulcha. I am on a quest….


    1. Hello, fellow cosmopolitanite! Our favorite Indian restaurant (now closed, sad to say), made the best onion kulcha. Soft, puffy, a little chewy and so flavorful. One could indeed spend an entire lifetime in a quest for bread and never run out of types.


    1. They’re made of real bread, cost about $80/pair and are apparently sold out at the site. They even came in their own shoeboxes. 🙂


  3. Thanks for the mouth-watering images, delectable lists, and fabulous wordplay! Excellent poem! I believe I am full of “half-baked ideas,” too. 🙂 Thank you, Jama and Leslea.


  4. I love everything here, starting with the blog title. Leslea gives such a great song to bread. I was going with the pumpernickle, but when I saw that teddy bear loaf, I think I may stick with Cornelius. Then I saw the papadums. Call me fickle, or call me open minded, or call me a lover of bread. Thank you for the feast and smiles.


  5. Oh, how could I possibly choose? Bread—simply, bread—is my favorite food. Hmm … I’ll have to think about this, but I might have to say sourdough. (This will haunt me all day.)

    Lesléa’s poem is a delight.


    1. Yes, sourdough suits your bubbly personality. 🙂 But I agree — it’s too hard to pick a favorite. Tack on “warm” and “homemade” and it’s nirvana.


  6. Oh, my. Those loafers are adorable. My favorite lines “According to Bread” are:
    as long as you butter me up
    and knead me, honey
    whenever you’re in a jam
    I will rise

    My friend posted photos of his home-made, freshly baked Challah today. There must be something yeasty in the air.


  7. Sublime post, as always, dearest Jama. I am a focaccia kind of girl – with kiri cream cheese spread on top and just the slightest golden toast. Leslea Newman’s “I will rise” is also such a delectable promise (didn’t sound like a threat at all to me). 🙂


    1. Mmmmm, love that when you describe a favorite food you always give specifics :). I didn’t find that line threatening either.


  8. I’d like to say I love pumpernickel, but… Actually I’m a focaccia lover through and through. I love the poem, so full of toastiness it warms me up! Thanks Jama-always love the recipes!


  9. Jama, I can always, always, ALWAYS count on you for a smile… and many times a growling belly as well. My Miranda will undoubtedly FREAK OUT when she sees the Cornelius bread and rolls. Personally, I’m changing my take out vote from Chinese take out to Indian tonight. The Mango Chicken Papadums and talk of onion kulcha are doing a number on me. And Leslea’s poem? FUN FUN FUN!


    1. I’m craving Indian food now too. I need to learn how to cook some Indian dishes — there are such wonderful spices to experiment with.


  10. Whew! Almost panicked because I closed the tab accidentally before I could comment on this being the most funnest bestest post! Thanks good ness I have a fresh baguette to satisfy!


  11. I like my Mom’s Beer Bread. And her Garlic Bread. I like all bread, besides pumpernickel, sourdough, and really-hard-to-chew-through crusted bread. 🙂 I like the Teddy Bear Bread though! 😀


  12. These pictures are torture, as I’ve just been diagnosed as gluten intolerant 😦 In days gone by, I would have been quite happy with the focaccia. For now, I’ll savor Leslea’s clever poem instead. Thanks for sharing, Jama!


    1. So sorry to hear that, Catherine — but it’s good you got an accurate diagnosis so you can feel better from now on. Lots of folks are gluten intolerant and don’t know it.


  13. So true: “Bread is a beautiful thing — venerable, inclusive, eternal, irresistible. Staff of life and a sacrament, it pays our way and is a gift from every culture and ethnicity in the world.” Bread is an amazing substance. I don’t think I can pick a favorite! I love them all, from saltines to tortillas to loaves of every hue and density! LOVE Leslea’s poem! It’s the butter on top of this yummy post!!


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