"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friendship Bread

I have some Amish Friendship Bread sitting on my counter right now and it is troubling me.  Not the bread itself, but the name.  For I will share with you two stories which will make you question how THIS bread every became known as FRIENDSHIP bread.

But first, some of you may not be familiar with Friendship Bread, so I will give you a brief introduction.  This bread is made with a fermented starter batter.  Here's how it works, some friend of yours gives you a plastic bag with some gooey sticky stuff inside and they hand you an instruction sheet that tells you what to do with this concoction for the next 10 days.   Most days you just have to kneed the bag and let the air out of it, as it starts to blow up like a balloon after a few hours.  On day 10 you add stuff to the mixture and divide it up into four plastic bags to hand off to your friends.  To the remaining mixture you add a whole bunch of ingredients and then bake it into bread.  The bread is, indeed, quite tasty.  Now for the stories of why this bread is misnamed...

How to End a Friendship Bread

Once upon a time there was a happily newly married couple named Chris & Barb.  They were quite a content and happy pair, not to mention good-looking and humorous (but I digress).  Barb and Chris were both gainfully employed full-time and busy with a variety of other activities.  Life was good.

It was in this blissful state that we found Barb being handed a bag of Friendship bread starter.  Barb, being somewhat of the domestic type, took the starter and dutifully made the friendship bread on 10-day intervals for a month or so.  Here our story takes a rather shocking and sad turn.

One fine morning while Chris and Barb were preparing to go to work it occurred to Barb that it was DAY 10!  The bread had to be made today.  Unfortunately, Barb's day was destined to be very busy and she just didn't see how she was going to get to making that bread, so she approached Chris with her dilemma and insinuated that, perhaps, he should do the bread making chore on that day.  Sadly, Chris, too, had a very busy schedule for the day and indicated that, no, he could not make the bread.

Well, for whatever reason, a fairly warm discussion occurred regarding the baking of the Friendship Bread which ended in these infamous words being uttered by Chris.

"Men don't make bread!"

Well, this declaration stopped Barb in her tracks and she huffed out of the room to go make the bed.  While she was making the bed, Chris showed up and offered to assist her in the tidying up of the bed, to which Barb replied, "So, do real men help make beds?"

So, you see, Friendship Bread is truly a misnomer which must be replaced.  Perhaps Bread-That-Will-Make-You-A-Slave would be a better name.

****Important****  My husband is not a chauvinist pig!  The aforementioned comment was said out of frustration over being enslaved by bread.  Although I don't think I have ever seen him make bread, he does more than his share of cooking, cleaning, etc.*****

Now, if this were the only friendship bread story I had to tell you tonight you might not be convinced, but it's not!  Oh, no!  You see, after almost two decades of avoiding friendship bread like the plague, I was once again tempted by a friend to take a bag home with me just this past year and so begins my second story...

I Hope I NEVER See This Stuff Again

Not too long ago, and not too far away, domestically inclined Barb accepted a bag of sticky, sugary mush to turn into Friendship bread in just 10 short days.  Dutifully, Barb needed that bag and added ingredients as instructed.  On Day 10, Barb cooked up two loaves of tasty Friendship bread which her children gobbled up in no time.  But Barb was perplexed.  To whom could she pawn off these 3 bags of goo that were sitting on her counter?  Try as she might, she could not find any takers for the sticky slime that would become Friendship Bread, so there they sat on her counter - fermenting.

Well, lo and behold, one day Barb did find a taker for the three bags of sticky, gooey, sugary stuff.  The family dog and counter cleaner, Snickers, discovered the bags while the family was away and proceeded to carry the three bags to the beautiful living room carpet.  Once on the carpet, Snickers proceeded to tear open each of the bags.  Upon tasting the goo, she decided she didn't really care for it, but carried the bags around a little bit dripping sticky sugary stuff ALL over the living room and hallway.

Upon arriving home, Barb discovered a HUGE mess of goo all over her carpeting.  It had apparently been sitting there for awhile as it was nicely soaked into the carpet.  No amount of cleaning was going to remove that stuff, but it did prove quite able to attract all kinds of dirt.  To this day, if you go visit Barb you will be able to see the massive Friendship Bread stain upon her living room carpet.

Now do you see why I find the name deceptive?  So, you may ask, why do you NOW have Friendship Bread sitting on your counter??  Well, my dear sweet daughter accepted a bag of the stuff from a friend at church last Sunday.  I was all ready to toss it straight in the trash can when she showed me the recipe book that this friend sent with the starter.  It appears that you can make all sorts of tasty treats with this stuff :-)  So, while I have been blogging here, I have also been making Chocolate/chocolate chip muffins from the friendship bread starter.

By the way, anyone a bag of Friendship Bread starter?  I have to get it off my counter before Snickers discovers it.

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