Il pane has been one of my best friends since childhood. I used to make myself decadent snacks: ciabatta bread slices loaded with pounds of my other best friend: Nutella…who can say no to that?
All of my memories, turns out, have something to do with food. But with bread, the connection is different, deeper. Bread is the protagonist of every Italian meal. I still remember my great-aunt Cesarina beeming while showing off a smooth, soft pagnotta, loaf, (it was still warm) specifically bought for my grandpa. “Che bonta’!”
I sincerely do not remember a meal at my family’s dinner table without bread. Funny thing is, when I turned 15 and I began thinking about fashion, body image, I started being cautious of how much bread I ate. My grandmother found out, looked straight through my eyes, and said, “Chiara, that’s nonsense,” and she handed me a panino.
Bread can do no wrong in my book: sotf, hard, sweet, savory, yeasty, non-yeasty, French, Italian. With the help of the amazing Joy of Cooking book, I tried making baguettes. Experiment succeeded. Delicious.
Turns out, bread is one of the earliest prepared foods…dating back about 30,000 year ago.
The babies right before the oven.
And here it is. Gorgeous baguette!
Il pane – bread
La farina – flour
Il lievito – yeast
La pagnotta – loaf of bread