• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Sunday, May 6, 2012


My mother baked 10 loaves of bread 3 or 4 times a week.
She raised 11 children. We ate a lot of bread.

photo courtesy of my daughter Kimber
she bakes a lot of bread for her family 
How many loaves do you think it would take to make 12 lunches most mornings (for dad and school)? And then give each of those lunch eaters a 'snack' when they get home from school!

I love hot fresh homemade bread.
Let me rephrase ... I love homemade bread.
Being hot and fresh just makes it more edible.

By choice I would eat the crust in preference to the soft center. Many of my siblings feel the same way - too bad there are only 2 'heels' when so many vie for them. Mother taught us to share ... and take turns having the crusts at the ends of the loaves. I think she liked the middles - at least she sure gave her share away often enough ...

One way to share was to cut the crust in half; instead of one individual getting a large slice, two got a smaller piece. Another way to share was to 'gift' your part to someone. Mom instructed us all of us about  the nobility of such an action - the giving of your piece, or turn for a piece, to someone else.

My spouse loves the soft, inner part of hot fresh bread. He prefers it to the crust. He likes crusts too but when push comes to shove he chooses the inside. He has no contenders. I gladly 'sacrifice' and eat the crusts. If I insisted on sharing my crusts of bread he would be the one making the sacrifice.

I have one sibling that felt picked on if she was forced to have a turn eating the crusts. She never had to take her turn - she had lots of volunteers to pick from that were willing to trade. The real problem was only who she picked to 'exchange' her turn with and how often. Conversely another sibling only ate the middle after it was cooled a bit. He likewise never had any difficulty trading.

If I gave you the crust, would it be kind or mean? I most certainly would ask you which you want. I would be hoping you wanted the middle slices. At my grandmother's funeral some Uncles told about getting in trouble with their mom for opening the oven and pulling off the outside crust of the bread as it was baking.

Maybe a preference for crusts is genetic. I don't care for the soft inner center of the bread until it has completely cooled.

Bread from the store isn't quite the same. It is never warm and the crust is not very crusty ... usually more spongy. So in some homes it is the last slice eaten. I choose to eat it first.  It is at least as good as the other bread and I don't object. If you want to eat it I will gladly let you, however.

Is that a favor to you?
Or is it a sacrifice for me?

I asked my spouse that.
He waffled. He guessed it would depend our mutual desires.

He is correct, of course.
Our desires matter.

Desire motivates and inspires us to act - to love and hate; to share or shrug; to kindness or anger; to tact or cruelty; to laugh or cry at what we see, hear and feel; and especially to start or stop, endure or abandon, embrace or exclude given courses of action.

I think our perception matters as much, or perhaps even more, than our desire - if we think we 'have' to eat the crust or 'get' to enjoy it. If we feel we 'have' to share it or 'get' to give it.

How many other circumstances are like crusts of bread?
In what ways do I feel 'compelled'?
In what ways can I 'choose' to act?

Can I give you the benefit of a doubt? Can I believe you want to share the crust with me or do I think you are selfishly withholding it from me. Can I believe you intentionally sacrifice for my benefit when you give me the soft center because you perceive it as the best and most wonderful part? or do I think you are selfishly hogging the crust?

Can you believe that I ask if you prefer the crust of the middle not because I want the best part for myself but because I don't mind sharing?

And can you forgive me for sharing my 'crust of bread' - when you like the soft middle? And can you understand that sometimes I may only have crusts to offer?

Want to share a loaf with me?
It is all delicious!