Leonardo, who once wooed us in The Titanic and Catch Me if You Can, plays a man who has lost everything in the dark and tragic movie, The Reverent. From Nurse Jackie to The Game of Thrones, we can’t seem to stop watching shows and movies that offer little hope for us. Where can we go to remind ourselves of the basic wonder of being human? How can we reconnect with the joy of life, that creative, hopeful force within all of us called the human spirit? Reconnecting may be as simple as spending time in nature, making things with our hands or committing random acts of kindness.
I’d like to suggest making bread. Making bread is one of the oldest things humans have done, so is literally imprinted in our very DNA. Making and eating bread are basic building blocks for the human race. Imagine little light bulbs in our DNA (tiny little ones) that blink when we engage in an activity that is part of our ancient collective memory. (You’ll have to read up on epigenetics for a more scientific explanation) Making bread and breaking bread together is one of those kinds of memories. Skeptical? Then why does the smell of fresh bread have a universal ahhhh response from every human on the planet? Think about it. Our DNA memory of fresh baked bread goes back through millennia. Back to when there was no television, no computers, no electricity, no urban sprawl, no pollution, and no cynical politics. Our DNA memories of bread predate our cynicism, and the collective cynicism of the entire human race.
So, if you want to do something simple that will make you feel good down to your DNA - if you want to know what basic hope, joy and love smell like - bake some bread. Start from scratch. Make your bread dough with love. Knead it and flour it. Let it rise and watch your spirits rise with it. Fill your home with the smell of fresh baked bread, made with your own hands. Then get out the butter and some jam (homemade would be awesome!) and break bread with the ones you love. Keep the television off. Just enjoy each other and your wonderful, memory-rich bread. It’s really that simple.
|2 Cups warm water||4-5 Cups Organic Unbleached all purpose flour|
|Teaspoon Sugar||Teaspoon Salt (sea salt or pink Himalayan)|
|4 oz. Olive oil||1 level tablespoon active dry yeast|
Pour warm water in a glass mixing bowl. Add yeast. Add sugar, salt and olive oil. Let sit a minute, and then stir with a fork. Add 2 cups of flour and stir well with a fork. Add flour until you must mix with your hands. Place dough on a floured surface, add flour slowly and work the flour into the dough. The dough should get to the point that it does not stick to your fingers. Fold and knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel. Let rise for an hour.
Place the risen dough on a floured surface, press the air out of it and knead again for 1 – 2 minutes. Form the dough the way you wish: in a round loaf, a log loaf or cut up into rolls. Place on an oiled cookie sheet and let rise for another 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it is golden brown on top. Remove and let cool. Serve warm!
Patti Lucia is the owner and Chef of Mother Earth Sanctuary Café in Lake Worth Florida. She taught High School English for over 20 years, and is also an artist, poet and inspirational speaker. She holds an MA in Creative Writing and English from City College of New York. A former political activist, Lucia now considers herself a mystic and enjoys inspirational speaking and exploring the healing power of food.