During the school days I remained awake till late to prepare for the examination as during day playing was important! Around midnight the pangs of hunger and drowsy eyes would not allow focusing on studies so a break for coffee or tea was needed. Without disturbing others, I would tiptoe to the refrigerator and prepare a quick sandwich and a cup of coffee! What a bliss it was to have a quick fill before doing one last round of studies before hitting the bed! This habit continued much beyond too! It was then; I realized that all the food items were produced by the assistants of god except bread which was for sure produced by none other than almighty himself!
It was easy to eat in the morning when time was always at a premium. Sometimes, if the entire family just returned home after a long trip or an outing and no one had energy to cook; the humble bread from store would come to the rescue.
Is there anyone in this world who does not eat bread? It is not uncommon to see those living in shanties get up early and prepare their own roti at day break. The history shows that bread was accidentally prepared by humans some 30000 years ago by mixing flour, water and roasting the paste/dough over fire or earthen oven. The first sliced bread in wrapper came into existence just about a century ago! Till the beginning of 21st century the poor ate the multigrain bread and the rich preferred eating the white tender bread! Things changed as the rich realized the nutrition value of the multi grain bread to switch the preference in its favor.
When I travelled around the country, I saw different kinds of breads being prepared in different places like the puffed fried pooris and kachoris, missi roti, bajra(millet) roti, roomali roti, thepla in the Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, HP, MP, Gujrat and Rajasthan, tandoori roti, makki( maize) di roti, nan and kulchas in Punjab, bhakri in Maharashtra and different kind of golden crisp parathas almost everywhere filled with vegetables, potatoes, even eggs layered with butter or ghee!
|Assorted Indian bread|
|A dosa under preparation|
On my first trip to the US and Europe, I was left spellbound by the variety of breads, brioche, buns, bagels, bread sticks, croissants, donuts, pizzas, tortillas and crepes! Every day, one could try a different kind of bread and still not be done with. I remember, once while traveling through Luxemborg, I saw a huge bakery shop and I felt that my feet refused to budge! The aroma of the fresh baked bread and the varieties of golden brown, nuts, seeds, fruit and meat buns and loaves were a sight to feast the eyes!
There are baguettes in France, Borodinsky in Russia, Ciabatta and Focaccia in Italy, Tunnbrod in Sweden and Taftans in Iran and Zopf in Switzerland to add to the list! Yet another time while exploring the Khan Khalili market in Cairo the hawkers carrying fresh baked ‘khubz’ looked delectable. I also recollect sitting by the roadside café in Caramel Market in Tel Aviv, and dug into the falafel prepared from fresh ‘pita’ bread that was simply gorgeous! It was equally amazing to see consumption of Taboon bread all along the west bank, Gaza and bordering towns of Lebanon! Malaysia boasts of roti and canai resembling chana in India!
|Assorted European bread|
Pizzerias all over the Europe prepare some of the best oven baked pizzas, and garlic breads! Having gorged some of the finest ones, it would be unfair to compare them with the mechanical fare served in, chain of Dominos, Pizza Huts and American pizza joints
Every time I returned home from a jaunt abroad, my wife would ask me what kind of bread you have brought for us to taste! A garland of bread with each bun of a different variety was a temptation difficult to resist when I entered a bakery in Christchurch in New Zealand! The memories, associated with buying and tasting so many variety of breads all over would need more than one post!
Bread has been the reason for many a wars and strife all over the world and the most memorable being words uttered by Mary Antionette’ French phrase "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", meaning if they cannot eat bread why can’t they eat cake, at the height of the French Revolution!
Once when accompanying a group of foreigners for lunch, the best compliment I heard from a guest that if the basket of assorted bread is there, he does not need any more side dishes, and likewise my love for breads continues to grow with passage of time
PS: Images Kind courtesy Google
PS: Images Kind courtesy Google