Bread: it’s the staff of life and a dieter’s downfall. How can something so ancient and basic, so nourishing and comforting, be the thing that makes one cave in and consume quantities beyond calories and slices a hundredfold beyond reason?
It is said our breads today do not in any way resemble breads of ancient times. Basic breads were made of stone-ground grains, water, natural airborne yeast and salt. That is if they were leavened. Unleavened bread was a common food. Today the list of ingredients, even on a “healthy, no high fructose sugar, whole grain” loaf of bread reads like a laboratory manual.
In the 1990s, a movement to eat nourishing bread led to popularity of the bread machine. Bread machine bread was even a category in the baked goods department of our local county fair some 18 years ago. Those machines were/are the quickest, least laborious way to get a good loaf of bread that includes pronounceable real food ingredients. Stone ground flours, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, juices.
We surmise that if the bread is made of natural, wholesome ingredients, one would not feel the desire to overindulge. On the other hand, one friend reasoned that if we knew the bread was good, why not eat more?
That question brings us to an interesting new book at the local library. Melanie Muhl and Diana Von Kopp wrote "How We Eat with Our Eyes & Think with Our Stomach." The authors look at over 40 intriguing questions directed at what people eat and why/how they come to those choices.
Presented in a light-hearted voice, it is serious information based on studies around the world in fields of psychology, neuroscience and culture. Every chapter draws you in with a curious tone of "You’re not gonna believe this" and ends with conclusion questions that make you stop and ponder just how this applies to you. What we turn to eat in times of joy and sorrow reveals much about our character. It also clues us in on why bread is a good third of my mother’s recipe box and pie fills out another quarter of her box and half of my box.
If you’re curious at all about how you eat with your eyes and think with your stomach, I highly recommend reading the book. If you’re in the mood to bake, here is a blue ribbon-winning bread machine recipe and the pie recipe that brought a halt to the bread question and sent us in a different direction. Yes, sometimes eating and food choices and whys and hows can all get jumbled together in the recipe box called life. We just have to pick a category and get on with it.
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Bread Machine Rice Bread
• 1 cup cooked rice, cooled
• 1 cup water
• 1 1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
• 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 cups bread flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1. Set machine for regular bread, light crust. Place ingredients in machine pan in order given. (If your machine instructions call for a different order of ingredient placement, follow machine instructions.) Start machine. When baked, remove pan and turn out bread to cool. Crust can be brushed with butter or margarine for a more tender crust.
Walnut Pumpkin Pie
(The pie that saved us from eating bread!)
• 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
• 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 (6 ounces) graham cracker pie crust
Topping:• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons cold butter
• 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
In mixing bowl, blend together pumpkin, milk, egg, cinnamon and salt. Pour into pie crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet for easy handling. Bake for 15 minutes.
2. Remove pie and reduce oven to 350 F. Before putting pie back in oven, in bowl, mix with fork all ingredients for topping and sprinkle evenly over top of pie. Place pie back in oven and continue to bake for another 40 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool completely. Refrigerate leftovers.
This recipe was a magazine clip out, advertising Keebler crusts, Diamond walnuts and Eagle brand milk.