Bread is something that resonates with so many aspects of my life: family, food, sustenance. Style. Our livelihood. It kept a roof over our heads.
In Belarus, my mother’s father was a baker, my father’s father was a miller; the baker’s daughter married the miller’s son.
When my father came to this country he became a baker. He took such pride in baking beautiful bread. It meant everything to him. Eventually he was able to buy the bakery and decided to the update the antiquated coal ovens to gas. A key part of the bread’s flavor came from the bricks lining the ovens. On the day they changed over the old ovens, his head baker bent down and kissed the pile of bricks with reverence. It was an incredibly poignant moment. When I looked over, my father was crying. That’s when I fully understood pride in work; it wasn’t just his job.
As a child my father braided my hair. It came naturally to him, being a baker. I have thick, curly hair, and he made two braids that were like giant challah breads on either side of my head. I was the original Princess Leia. I was my braids.