On the occasion of my son's nineteenth birthday some years back, he announced to me that he was buying a house and moving out. Out on his own. It's a joyous time when as a parent you get to watch your offspring become a complete person. The ability to become self sufficient and independent are great indicators of the morals and standards that your child has. You realize it is a testament to the way they were raised and reflects on the performance of your duties as a parent. And in this situation, it reflected quite well.
When my son then, some six weeks later came to me and told me that the one thing that he missed the most about living in my home was the fresh baked bread; well, that too reflects on how he was raised. When I was just seventeen, I began my foray into the making of bread and the pursuit of a healthier diet. After those first months of some rather poor results, the bread came out better and was pretty much a staple in my home ever since. It isn't always perfect, it isn't always taken out of the oven in time to avoid a scorch mark or two; it isn't always eaten before getting a bit of mold on it; but it pretty much was always there. When my son came to me and requested some instructions on home to make fresh bread, it was a thrill that I oould never have hoped for. It was a triumph for me as a dedicated man who loves to pass on a knowledge and passion for healthy foods, and as someone that fore goes the conveniences that modern society provides in order to achieve those goals that I hold in high esteem.
That first lesson was taken with me bringing presents of a wheat grinder and an older KitchenAid mixer. Something that I don't think he quite expected, but over the years now he has certainly come to appreciate the freshness that grinding your own wheat provides and the ease with which a mixer makes his dough for him. The lesson was an interesting mix of emotions for me, to relinquish the torch of health so to speak. Passing on the knowledge and the rituals of the grinding of the wheat, the making of the sponge and kneading of the dough all the way to the forming of the loaves or rolls was one of my life's great pleasures. And then the shared enjoyment of removing the heavenly scented breads from the oven and those first tantalizing tastes of life giving wholesomeness made with care and love.
Those first lessons were followed by a few more, and then my progeny used the knowledge for greater nutrition, for convenience, and who knows, maybe to impress a few women as well. But I felt at that time that my part was done, I had passed the torch. We still have conversations about bread, the lessons continues. When we were a thousand miles apart it was by phone, or instant messaging. Then video chatting as well. Questions about why this batch was doughy, or that one fell, or why some other problem or malady occurred. It keeps us together, and it gives us common ground to converse, even though there are thousands of miles and years dividing us.
Bread, it gives us family