Dat, my grandfather hero, long dead,
Would make bara llath for me.
White basin, warm, half-full
and in it the ambrosial slop
later I grew to know as bread.
For himself he favoured bara a thé,
(I wasn’t old enough he said).
not milk for him, his would have tea on top.
My favourite fish-paste sandwich on the beach,
and Mum’s command to ‘help yourselves’.
Across the road behind the dunes, within our reach,
the ancient couple’s wooden hut.
Brown teapot, cups and saucers on a tray
to carry proudly with both hands, at twelve,
‘don’t forget the sugar and the spoons, and don’t you stray’.
(that couple worked non-stop and never seemed to shut).
For the small-town girl at twenty-two Geneva was a wholly novel world.
City of sophistication and French bread
not often did she long for Mother’s Pride instead.
She thought it brilliant the dipping of the chunks
into the bubbling bowl of molten cheese.
A fondue dish came back inside her trunk,
but the glamour of the different eventually dissolved.
She still savours, though, her Swiss years’ memories.
Sourdough and soda breads, the fashionistas’ chosen fare
are kinder on the stomach so I hear.
My jar of Starter holds its baleful witch’s stare
if I neglect to keep it fed, its bubbles winking at my fear.
Bread is my favourite go-to comfort food.
Mopping up gravy, though considered rude,
Is one of the simple pleasures in life I list.
Crusty fresh white from the bakers, toasted crisp,
(not the face-flannels the young cannot resist!).
Good-for-you seeded granary, baguettes.
If there is food more satisfying than bread
Then I for one just haven’t found it yet.
© all rights reserved by author Christine Williams 2020
bara llath (bread soaked in hot milk)
bara thé (soaked in tea)
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