Editor's Food for Thought: December/January 2016 Issue
Bread. Its core five ingredients are simple, but its impact in our world is complex and timeless. As we contemplate events of late and consider a new year of possibilities, I encourage us all to consider the role bread plays in our lives—physically, metaphorically and spiritually.
All countries and cultures have some form of bread. It is the world’s most widely eaten food and has been a main component of the human diet since prehistoric times. Bread making began by simply grinding some kind of grain into flour, adding liquid, and baking the dough on hot rocks. Over thousands of years, countless forms of bread have evolved around the world: white, pita, matzo, flat, quick, rice, corn and gluten-free, to name a few.
In many cultures, bread has been a symbol of harvest, fruitfulness, comfort and fertility. It is used for communion in Christian traditions, a ladder to heaven (challah) and Passover symbol (matzo) in Jewish tradition and a ring of life to many Greeks. People break bread together as a symbol of peace, and they share bread as a symbol of nurturing and friendship.
For everyone, bread is a sign of civilization, a sign of God, a sign of good governance and, for most of history, the “staff of life,” without which people would starve. In Russian, one says hello by shouting “bread and salt!” It is embedded in many popular English idioms, from “bread and butter” to “the greatest thing since sliced bread” and “breadwinner.”
In her quote, Maya Angelou reminds us to cast our bread upon the waters knowing that someone down the river will benefit. How can you give your time, your resources and your bread? Maybe it’s a donation to one of the nonprofit organizations listed in Edible Ending (page 72)? Maybe it’s in the form of forgiveness?
As you focus on the holiday season and hope for 2016, I encourage you to reflect how your life has benefitted from someone else’s bread that was cast upon the water, and how your thoughtful actions might pay it forward to someone downstream.
-Ann Curtis, Managing Editor
“When we cast our bread upon the
waters, we can presume that someone
downstream whose face we will never
know will benefit from our action, as
we who are downstream from another
will profit from that grantor’s gift.”