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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Daily Bread


It surely must be one of the oldest recipes in the world.  Jesus ate it, even the ancient Greeks and Egyptians are known to have baked it; not only baked it, but offered it up to the Gods.   Bread; a staple part of the human diet for thousands and thousands of years.  It’s quite remarkable really.

There are lots of things I love about bread. I love the smell of it freshly baked, I love eating it slightly warm, when the butter starts to melt before you even finish the slice. I love eating fresh crusty, bread with strawberry jam - it’s the only time I really like strawberry jam.  I love it cut into hot, buttered soldiers, dipped into a runny, boiled egg, and the way they come out looking as if they’ve been coated in bright yellow paint.  Or, my favourite, simply toasted, with some salted butter and a thin layer of tangy orange marmalade, accompanied by a cup of steaming hot tea. 

The artisan bakery down the road from me does a roaring trade in speciality breads. It seems West Londoners have a penchant for something more than your average loaf.  Walnut and Raisin, Potato and Rosemary Focaccia,  Spelt and Sunflower. The locals round here love them. And they’re happy to pay a premium for them too; put the word ‘artisan’ in front of it, and it seems you can charge what you want.  At the other end of the scale, there’s your bog standard, supermarket sliced loaf.  47p for a loaf of medium, sliced white bread in Tesco or JS.  I hate the supermarket bread shelves. Too much choice, too much confusion.  In the supermarket, I pick up some loaves and immediately put them back, because they weigh a ton. I can’t imagine eating something that weighs so much. What do they put in it? 

Once Pip was born and we started to think about weaning, I developed a bit of a bread obsession.  I became fixated with the media reports of bread containing chemical preservatives (used amongst other things, to elongate shelf life.). So I decided to try and make my own. I figured it might even be money saving too. A winning plan, I thought.   Bread maker duly purchased I set about making my own bread, with ambitions to branch out, add a few raisins here, some seeds there, and create my own little artisan breads at home.  In my rose tinted mind, it was the picture of home spun bliss.

It was a disaster. The problem was not in the bread rising, but with the paddle in the machine. It would constantly get stuck inside the loaf. By the time I had jemmied it out of the cooled loaf, it had a massive hole running through it.  Then, when I went to cut the loaf, aside from the great hole in the middle, I found that the outside was too crusty and the middle too soft.  Crumbs - everywhere. Added to which my freestyle bread slicing skills created slices that were more door wedge than door stop; I once made my mother a sandwich so large she couldn’t get her mouth around it.  Eventually I decided it was a false economy. For every loaf of bread I baked, I was throwing more than half of it away, either due gaping volcanic holes inside the loaf, or as a result of my ridiculously poor efforts wielding the bread knife.

And so, like the vast majority of the UK population, we consume week in week out, bog standard supermarket bread (albeit a nice golden, wholemeal one.) It’s easy, and highly convenient,  and as a mother, I don’t know where I would be without it.  But, here’s the problem.  I eat too much of it.  And I’m bored of it.  I eat it because it’s easy.  Whilst I insist that my son has wholesome porridge for breakfast each morning, and I go to the trouble of making it for him, I don’t eat it myself.  No. I eat a couple of pieces of toast inbetween unstacking the dishwasher, getting Pip breakfasted and dressed, and doing all the jobs that need doing of a morning.    That’s not so bad. But then lunchtime arrives.  As mealtime occasions go, lunchtime is my least favourite.   It was far easier when I worked, when all I had to do was walk into the staff restaurant and survey the choices before me. But now at home, I struggle to know what to have for lunch. Lunchtime does not inspire me.  So what do I usually eat?  Yes, more bread.  A sandwich or something ‘on toast’.  Even if I eat soup, what do I have with it? Bread.

Enough is enough. I don't want to turn into a dough girl;  I've decided I need to widen the palette of my lunchtime horizons.  So, dear readers, I’m asking for some helpful suggestions.  Quick, lunchtime solutions that are not bread based.   What do you eat for lunch?  Inspire me...

21 comments:

  1. I am no help to you at all on this one as I have exactly the same bread eating habits as you. Toast and sandwiches are my daily staple. Really looking forward to reading other suggestions that you get.

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  2. I have many that I do but I go in phases, my latest one being linseed crackers with avocado & tomatoes or I just have alaskan salmon (always have some cooked in the fridge) with watercress & more salad. If its not quick & easy, ie can't be done alongside making TC her lunch then I have to go without & its an apple in the car!! I hardly touch bread these days, just went off it, so I stick to Food Doctor Pittas which I can toast & stuff with a slice of cheese & salad - makes it more salad than "bread". I could on all day, stop me now!!!

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    1. When I read your blog you always strike me as someone who has a good dietary/ foodie balance. Thanks for the suggestions. I am liking the sound of the Food Doctor Pittas - still bread - but at least there's less of it!

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    2. & they're full of seedy bits so "healthy" ;)
      & thank you for reading my blog x

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  3. I'm feeling very breaded out too at the moment and actually, I'm sensitive to wheat. And if I eat too much of it, it makes me sleepy and bloated. I really need a detox of some sort. I like corn crackers and humous. But my favourite bread free lunch is soup; always leaves me feeling satisfied until teatime. Pret a managers no bread sandwiches used to make me laugh - essentially a salad! That reminds me now *ahem* warmer weather is on the way I shall be eating more salads at lunch times!

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    1. The problem I find with salad is that it never fills me up. Two hours later I'm ravenous - and then I go and raid the breadbin! Maybe I should make a really chunky soup and see how I get on with that.

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  4. I've always had exactly the same trouble with bread machines. Ours is forgiven, though, for it makes such irresistible pizza dough.

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    1. Gosh, homemade pizza dough - sounds scary!

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  5. Oooh - I'm not very good at inspirational lunches to be honest and pack lunches are the worst -endless blooming sandwiches. How about an avocado with some mayo and pepper - simple easy and quite filling. We often have biscuits and cheese with our soup for lunch or just a few biscuits and cheese, with humous, tomatoes, cucumber etc and no soup. I know they are still flour based but it's not bread!!

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    1. I am fast coming to the conclusion that I seem to need to consume something more filling than other people. (Or am just plain greedy..) A few biscuits with houmous, tom's and cucumber sounds nice, but that would be a snack for me! (Thank god for a high metabolism)x

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  6. I too was a bit of a bread lover, but ate so much of it I am literally bored to death of it. So now, apart from an occasional Fish Finger and Ketchup sandwich I tend to stay away from them. Luckily, unless it's M & S I hate shop bought sandwiches and usually opt for a salad option, however, I have the same issue as you - hungry again after an hour and a half, so I usually make sure I top it up with a big old fruit salad afterwards! This is great for summer, not so appealing in winter. Winter dishes I try and make soup (chunky like you say, sometimes even with a little pasta in) to try and avoid the need for bread. My favourite thing at the moment is Mozzerella, Beef Tomatos (drizzled in Olive Oil) with a half bag of salad on the side, with the Mary Berry and Daughter Salad dressing - I could eat that forever! Followed by 'Red Fruit Salad' i.e Strawberry, Raspberry, Red Grapes and Pink Lady Apple. One last thing, I will inbox (Britmum) you my 'Couldn't be easier' bread receipe - breadmaker not required, only 10 minutes and then a hot oven - came from the kids school and the best I have ever tried, for days we want to indulge in real bread with half a block of butter melting on each slice!x

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    1. Yes, I'm with you on shop bought sandwiches, it's M&S or nothing for me too. A pasta based soup sounds good. I made a Butternut Squash and Chilli number today and it was surprisingly filling ( although I did have a sneaky slice of bread with it.) Your Mozzarella and Beef Tomato salad sounds delicious. Yes, would love to try your easy bread recipe. Thanks x

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  7. I too eat way too much bread. I stopped buying supermarket bread as it makes me bloated so I do make my own. It works out cheaper but is a bit of a faff if you don't have a breadmaker, which I don't.

    So, erm, other lunch ideas... baked potatoes. If I am organised enough and remember to pop them in at 10ish, we sometimes eat them for lunch. Or a smorgasbord - I sometimes buy that dark, nutty rye bread, and make up a load of different toppings and eat it as an open sandwich.

    Another thing I've done in the past is buy some puff pastry and make a little tart, cheese, ham and tomatoes is yummy.

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    1. Yes, baked potatoes are a great idea. Smorgasbord sounds exotic, might give that a try when the warmer weather comes - thanks!

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  8. I am so glad I am not alone in the problems with the bread maker! I had a large hole in the middle of mine and no matter how I made the bread it was really heavy and flat, my mum makes it and her;s is not bad, but try as she might at my house she had the same problems. we decided it was as I lved in an incredibly hard water area. Enough to make me give up. I love fresh bread though so it would be nice to make it, maybe the good old fashioned way!

    As for lunch I find soup is good and I also eat alot of those mug a soups as they are very easy and filling, other than that pitta sandwiches and wraps or salad, or jacket spud x

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    1. Hi RP, thanks for commenting. Is good to know I am not alone in my trials and tribulations with the breadmaker. I may try the old fashioned way too - it can't be any worse...

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  9. I had the same problems with a bread maker but making it by hand if you have time is delicious children love helping out too which is a bonus.

    I have been trying to avoid bread and have become addicted to rivita and humous the fruit rivita is my favorite. Wheat free pasta from sainsburys is good too x

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  10. I love bread too, and the artisan stuff rather than the supermarket 47p loaf. We have a breadmaker and although the paddle gets stuck I don't usually have too much of a problem fishing it out. I love salads in the summer, love caprese salad (mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado) or hummous and flatbreads (which somehow seem healthier than ordinary bread. I have a problem with soup since being in the bath as a very small child and hearing my dad comment that my bath looked like soup because of all the soap I'd used up. Now the word soup makes me think of all the things you find in a soapy bath. Urgh. I dislike lunch too and find it the least inspiring meal. I tried for a while to have late breakfast and then something at about 2pm so I didn't have to call it lunch. Not always practical though! Great post. Polly x

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    1. Thanks for commenting Polly. I think that's part of my problem - I'm not a salad lover, so it makes the alternative options to bread even more restrictive! Although that said, although they don't seem appealing at the time usually when it's in front of me I enjoy it more.
      On the soup front, not content with putting me off cotton wool buds in one week you've now put me off soup too!

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  11. It's soda bread I tend to eat, which is the only bread my personal trainer will allow me to have (although I do still eat white & brown bread a lot too!). She would prefer I made the soda bread myself, but I just don't have the time so I buy soda bread from the supermarket. In terms of lunches, I'll have soup at work, but if I'm at home I'll sometimes have scrambled egg & smoked salmon (with soda bread!), or a nice big salad with prawns or chicken. My personal trainer has told me to make a big wholemeal pasta salad with lots of vegetables and keep that in the fridge which should last a couple of days. I really do need to get a bit more organised!!

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