Are you among the thousands of people baking bread these days? It appears that under lockdown we are making bread as never before. Yeast and flour have all but disappeared from grocery stores and never have there been so many online inquiries about bread baking. Why has bread become such a central activity at this time?
Bread has been a staff of life in most areas of the world and it connects us to our earliest ancestors who, more than ten thousand years ago, were experimenting with it. Bread has become a powerful symbol of sustenance and nurturing and in many of the world religions symbolically stands for our connection to the divine. Likewise, for indigenous cultures of the Americas, including Mayan Hands’ artisan partners, corn tortillas (a kind of ‘bread’ without yeast), are also a staff of life and considered sacred.
We asked some friends of Mayan Hands what baking at this time means for them. Vera explained that her grandmother had a small bakery in Germany. She taught Vera how to bake and shared with her the challenges of serving her community at a time of food shortages and a climate of fear. Vera embraces bread making as a way to sustain her hope for a brighter future.
Becca told us that baking bread makes her feel connected to people from the beginning of time, across the globe, from kitchen to kitchen. Preparing and mixing ingredients, kneading, waiting for the dough to rise and for the final product to come out of the oven, requires attention and patience and has a calming quality. They make us focus in the moment.
Ilana and David talked about the certainty of the process of mixing the ingredients, waking up to find them ready the next day, and then having their house fill with the aroma of bread baking in the oven. Turning flour into something you can eat is nothing short of magical.
For Dan, our patient IT consultant and webmaster, bread baking is both an art and a science. Their kitchen is a laboratory where he and his new wife Beth Anne improvise with ingredients and methods as they create a home together. Later, friends and family find loaves at their doors, an expression of love and abundance.
What could elevate more the enjoyment of your bread than bringing those fragrant slices to the table in a beautiful Mayan Hands basket, wrapped in a Mayan Hands napkin? When you do, you also support the women artisans who make the baskets and napkins as they work hard, now more than ever, to continue putting food on their families' tables.
Looking for the perfect bread basket? We love the Rosa Basket (pictured above with Dan's bread and our Indigo Stripes Table Runner) and the Lidia Basket. If you're looking for something a little smaller, try the Zoila Basket. Something larger? The Mayra Basket. And if you are a tortilla lover, our Tortilla Basket is the choice for you. Our basket makers (in the photo below) make the best tortillas!