Five Dollar Loaf of Bread and Quality of Life

Yesterday Ilse Crawford’s book, Home is Where the Heart Is, came in the mail. It has a beautiful red satin cover (her first book had a grey suede cover) and is full of pictures that capture the essence of home. Unlike many other home decorating books that make you want to throw-out everything you have and go shopping for thousands of dollars worth of new furniture, Ilse’s books make you look at the house you were hitherto unsatisfied with and say, “Maybe what I have is just fine. Maybe all I need to do is take that blanket out of the linen closet and throw it on my couch.”

In her book, though, she talks of more than how to decorate your house. She talks of living slower, conserving water, eating together, being bored . . . and eating better bread. She says that bread is a food that connects us to our roots, and despite the current low-carb fad, bread is something we should revere as essential to our being. “Track down the best baker you can find. It is just a question of quality (more) and quantity (less).”

On the way to our ballet studio, my daughter and I walk by several bakeries that sell excellent bread. Actually, I had not ever eaten bread from any of these places because Aldi sells bread at 35 cents a loaf. But I’ve been told that these bakeries have excellent bread. So today, inspired by Ilse, I vowed to buy some of this excellent bread. I walked into The Great Harvest and asked,

“How much is a loaf of white bread?”
“Okay. Thank you.” I said and walked out without buying bread. Five dollars for a loaf of bread! Unbelievable. Sorry Ilse, can’t do it. I went to FoodStuff next.
“How much for a loaf of white bread?”
“Okay. Thank you.” I said and walked out again without buying bread. Despite all my good intentions, this was proving to be too much. At the same time, I felt that Ilse was right, and the quality of bread we chose to eat affected the quality of our life. And I remembered something else. Just yesterday I had paid $5.00 in fines for overdue book. How could I be so careless as to not return my books on time if I thought $5.00 was so precious?

So I bought a loaf of bread at Tag’s Bakery. I could feel the firm crust under my hand and smell the sweetness through the bag. Later when we had slices of it for dinner, we were amazed.

It was indeed, excellent bread. And excellent bread did make all the difference in the world.

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