“You and everyone else,” she said through her little square box framing her face on the Zoom call.
“It’s delicious. I have plenty of time to practice the craft.” I said to my friend from college through the computer connecting us.
On Sunday last, I spent an hour talking to six women who walked through college with me. We haven’t connected as a group in four years. A pandemic brought us together as schedules opened and boredom crept in. From screens on kitchen tables in Denver, in Brooklyn, and in Spokane, we spent an hour catching up during the oddest life pause we’ve experienced.
She was making fun of me and the seemingly thousands of others in quarantine who have discovered the joy of making homemade bread kitchens world wide.
Starting bread is simple. Flour, water, salt. Cover in dampness and let the air do its magic.
Let it breathe.
Add heat and watch it crisp and bubble and morph into sustenance.
Three weeks ago, I was given a jar of white goo from a friend who had kept her starter alive for decades. The building block has grown and multiplied over the years and by miracles of community and connection, parts of the original landed on my doorstep in small glass mason jar.
In my dark kitchen on an unremarkable week night, I pressed connect to launch another video call. My mom walked me through the steps to make a scraggily dough. I called again after the overnight rise for guidance on amounts of flour, moisture, and time required to make something edible.
I’ve followed the steps on my own four times now. Bread is in the oven as I type.
This week, a friend received another jar of the same white goo from the same legendary start. On another unremarkable week night, she called me via video chat to walk through the same steps my mom taught me just days prior.
The dough, and the love, are multiplying.
My friend sent pictures of her process. My incorrect direction to add extra flour caused her mason jar to overflow. Excess bubbled over and marking her counters with sticky residue.
In my small community, we’ve been texting recipes and getting on video calls and cheering from our kitchens far away.
This bread is connecting people.
Last night, Jesus ate the Last Supper of bread and wine.
Flour. Salt. Water. Grapes.
Simple ingredients connecting us through history.
They tell me Jesus is the Bread of Life.
While I slept and my dough rose, Jesus knew what was coming. Prophecies of betrayal and sacrifice and death led us here to Good Friday. Things we fear and want to avoid came to fruition.
From my home, I’ll sit down and watch a church service online. Maybe dim the lights to get the theatrical effect mega-churches seem to have mastered so well over the years.
“It is finished,” he’ll scream this afternoon and I’ll break my bread in remembrance of Him. I’ll sip my wine and feel the tannins gloss my throat as I swallow down the pain.
We must wait three days until everything changes.
Things feel finished. I feel sad and broken and scared for the ones I love. I know this is going to take more than three days to resolve.
And yet, what is finished in death rises on Sunday. Even in quarantine.
I can’t help but thinking there’s something to this powerful resurgence of sourdough.
Dough rises. It’s connecting us.
This mix of simple things give rise to something powerful. New life with a crusty chew.