Sis, what are you doing in here? I come to my senses when my sister who just came into the country a week earlier disturb my deep thought.
I thought we will do this together. This, meant shop for the groceries. My sister who is fascinated as I was when I first entered The Giant Store at Kentlands was already over the place before she found me. Every time I go to this store I will go straight to the back section where the Bakers Section is located. I am always fascinated as I watch the baker line up his bread. The breads come in different shapes and sizes. I sniff the sweet smell of vanilla in the air as he goes back inside to check his oven.
I have read somewhere that the origin of bread started as a porridge. Further experimentation led to cooking the mixture that had been heated in fire creating the first bread and tortilla-like. It was said that the Egyptians mastered leavening while the Greeks mastered style. The art of using yeast was used by the Egyptians and the Greeks turned bread baking into an art. They invented the front loaded oven and made different doughs, loaf shapes and styles of bread and mothers started buying food from the skilled bakers instead of making bread in their kitchen. Furthermore. Leavened bread was costly and the white bread invented by the Romans made by sifting the grain through linen was costlier. And so, before proper nutrition became an obsession the poor people ate dark-whole grained bread and the rich people ate white bread.
The year was 1973. Martial Law was just declared and the country was in turmoil. Employment was scarce and poverty abounds. I am seated in the front seat of the school bus. This special bus will bring us to the next city where we attend high school. I want to sit in front because I love to see the landscape while we travel. I remember my mother made my sandwich for lunch this morning. She boiled two eggs, peeled, smashed the egg with a fork and scooped in some mayonnaise and spread in two large slices of white bread. Every day, she made different sandwiches for me. Tuna on a Monday, turkey on a Tuesday, chicken on a Wednesday, ham on a Thursday and egg on a Friday. I am very lucky. With the rest of the country in hunger, here I am with my delicious sandwich prepared by my beloved mother.
Liza, where are you? I came out of my reverie and I almost fell from the branch of our mango tree at the back of our house when my mother called me.
Are you daydreaming again?
No, mother, I was just thinking how much I love you. I answered back. Those different sandwiches you prepared for me, they were delicious.
What? My mother answered back. What sandwiches are you talking about? We could hardly buy rice, much more your sandwiches. Besides, we haven’t eaten bread for so long now. Get down and cook the rice, your father will be home soon. I bet he is very hungry looking for a job.
Okay, I’m coming I said to my sister. Just let me watch this final art show of the baker.
The baker is now carrying a large basket full of different breads. He line them one by one according to size and shape. How I love to touch them. Now I understand why I love to stand in front of the Bakers Section of The Giant Store. Not that I want to buy bread, I just want to see them lined one by one, and if I have my way, I want to touch the bread to assure myself that the bread is not an imagination, as it was, long time ago.