October 15, 2006

Celebrating the staff of life

Bake it or buy it, but blog about it. Monday Oct. 16 has been declared World Bread Day by the International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners. The idea here is to appreciate this “universal product, found in every civilisation.”

Over at the kochtopf blog they’re urging people to photograph and blog about their favorite bread and to send in the links for an Oct. 17 blog round-up.

This got me thinking about not just the universality of bread but the distinctive local variations. I’ve noticed that most major American cities have their own traditional breakfast bread. Boston, for instance, has the grilled corn muffin or blueberry muffin; New York, the bagel; most Southern cities, the sausage biscuit. In eastern Ohio and southwestern New York, you might be lucky enough to find a town that still offers salt-rising toast as a breakfast option. San Francisco, of course, has sourdough toast. When I arrived in Seattle some years back, giant cinnamon rolls studded with raisins and slathered with icing were in vogue. (Can anyone tell me about the breakfast breads for Minneapolis? Kansas City? Detroit?)

If I could celebrate World Bread Day by eating any bread in the world, it would be the focaccia formaggio made in Recco, a Ligurian coastal town a bit to the east of Genoa. A soft cheese with a taste very much like sour cream is baked on the oil-brushed focaccia, and the result is utterly addictive. Sadly, there’s no focaccia formaggio in Seattle (the authentic cheese being unobtainable outside of Italy), so I’ll probably mark the day with a fresh cardamom braid from our local Scandinavian bakery.

One Response to “Celebrating the staff of life”

  1. zorra said:

    This foccacia sounds delicious. I will to try to bake one.