Buying bread

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Yesterday, I went to buy bread. I select my loaves with a point of the finger “that one and that one”. It’s handed over in a brown paper bag, I have a big jute bag with me and juggling money, purse, bread etc, the easiest thing to do is open the bag and have the bread placed in the bag by the woman serving. It’s a moment that transports me right back to my childhood and memories of my mother buying bread in paper bags. Opening her shopping basket, conversations with the women in the bakers who all knew her, knew me. The layout of the shop, it’s grey floor and glass counter. The smell and the warmth of soft white bread. Although, I’m buying very different bread, I can almost smell the bakery of my childhood.

A loaf of fresh bread makes a lazy dinner; bread, dips, olives, salads, that sort of stuff. It’s called ‘things on a plate’. I know, took me ages to think of that title. It’s an easy to prepare dinner for relaxed evenings. Fresh bread is good for the soul. It’s a basic food and there’s a comfort in that. I have vivid memories of the responsibility of going to buy bread on my own as a child. Carrying it back through the park, the loaf cradled in my arms, like a baby, the warmth of bread through the paper bag. The soft fluffy white texture of bread. We always had loaves, white bloomers. I craved white sliced bread, that seemed better, what the cool kids ate.

Proper bakeries seemed to disappear and at once re-appear in the shape of artisan bakeries, selling loaves in different guises and flavours. Home baked bread is great, if you’ve the time or the breadmaker. I still like to walk to fetch my bread. The pleasing simplicity of popping out to get a loaf of bread. Walking back home tempted by the smell of the loaf, trying not to pull chunk from the end and eat it. Of course, it is best if it’s warm. There is a criticism that artisan bread is over priced and goes off to quickly, but that’s the joy. It has to be eaten as soon as, because there aren’t loads of additives and preservatives. You pay for the fact that it’s been made by hand and not mass produced. I like that. My local bakery is Mark’s, on different day’s there are different breads; olive on Thursday. Beer bread on Saturday. Apparently, Mark went on bread making course for his 50th birthday, loved it so much, he gave up his career and opened a bakery. How nice is that? The power of bread. Sentiment, emotion, food, so closely tied to senses; smell, texture, taste. Yesterday morning, it caught me by chance. A slice of nostalgia in a busy morning. What food takes you right back to another place and time?

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My fave bakery Harts #bristol

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Harts bakery the best place to be at this time on a Saturday.

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28 Comments

  1. headinbook

    I love fresh bread, and luckily my husband likes to bake it, so we have homemade loaves each day and special ones at the weekend. 

    My memory food is custard – comfort puddings as a child!

  2. Molly

    Why, why, WHY did you have to post this? I am in desperate turmoil. Crazing bread but knowing if I eat it at the moment I’ll feel like crap. Sob. There’s a fantastic Artisan Bakery near us that does the most incredible French Boulle loaf I’ve ever tasted. I want some now. *weeps*

  3. Metropolitan Mum

    A new German bakery has opened around the corner from where I live. Kamps isn’t really new – it’s an old bakery in Germany, but it’s new to London. And their bread is absolutely AMAZING. I love popping in on the school run to buy raisin buns for the girls. Just like my mum did with me. 
    I have stopped buying plastic bread from supermarkets some time ago. Real food for real people, yay!! 🙂 x

  4. Ben

    Oh yes! I hate the fact that it’s so hard to buy decent bread unless you live in a city like Bristol. Couple of farm shops near here to buy bread from but still not as fresh as buying from the bakers directly. Still think you should get making sourdough though, so easy and only takes 10 mins work in the evening 🙂

  5. Anya from Older Single Mum and The Healer

    I remember writing once about having fresh but sliced white bread in the house and spreading some Anchor butter on it and being instantly transported right back to being a little girl – will dig it out and pop it over to you.  Ice pops also do it and half a lager and lime in the sunshine transports me back to my formative years in Jersey! Beautifully written, heartfelt post, as always though XX

  6. Ali

    Celery and onion soup, pizza with a crumbly and gorgeous pastry base both my Mum’s recipes, Fairy cakes with warm spices, cherries and sultanas running through them my Nan’s and fresh bread made by my Gran from sacks of gorgeous flour bought straight from the mill on Exmoor! Oh and homemade jam tarts and sherbert lemons, I think I once wrote that as a post! xxx

    Food creates amazing memories that stay with us, whether we made it ourselves or a glimpse of happiness when we buy it!

  7. Hattie

    Oh you are so right. At my (slightly hippy) school you could choose to bake bread instead of doing sport! We’d get up at 6.30, run across frosty fields and knead bread in a barn. Our teacher said bread would only rise to the sound of Radio 3. Very rarely have I felt so happy and peaceful.

  8. Actually Mummy...

    My mouth is watering. I recently stopped eating wheat, and whilst it has massively improved my health, I miss good bread soooo much! And you’re right about the freshness – that’s the best thing about a French holiday – you have to eat all of your fresh baguette at breakfast, it won’t last till lunch!

  9. Emma

    Oh my gosh, and now I am hungry! 😀    I love the sound of things on a plate by the way!  It seems I am destined to live in countries that do the most amazing bread.   Our very own in the UK which is hard to beat (as you have well demonstrated!), Denmark whose bread was gorgeous when at it’s very best (I now have a life long addiction to rugbrod, and I don’t think I will ever be able to eat a “danish pastry” outside of the UK again) and here in Bavaria whose pretzels and mountainous loaves do my waist line no favours.  I have told Mr R that if we move again, it has to be somewhere like Asia where bread is not that big a part of the diet so I can wean myself off! 😀  

    1. helloitsgemma

      I’d love to have your ‘bread’ experiences, my overriding memories of Germany is of amazing pastries and cakes! and I imagine Denmark to be as good, if not better.

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