Home, for me, has always had an intricate connection to food. So when a sudden chain of events transported me away from the Midwest, away from the Michigan woods, away from my family and everything familiar, to Washington, D.C. amidst a sea of new faces and places, the urge to cook set in immediately.
At almost every gathering of friends or family, at every holiday meal, acting as indispensable support to the main dish, my mom's French Bread played an iconic role. Mom has baked countless loaves of French Bread over the years. In many ways, the bread encapsulates everything I love and know. And so, at a moment when I needed to hold on to old ties and create new ones, when I needed to both feel the connection to home and forge my own way, I turned to French Bread.
Following my mom's recipe, I proofed the yeast. I mixed the flour, sugar, and salt. By hand, I kneaded the stiff dusty mixture into soft malleable dough. I held my breath while I waited for it to rise, hoping I hadn't killed the yeast. Finally, I slid the two loaves into the oven.
A short time later, my roommate and I cut into the soft warm bread. As I quietly savored the familiar taste, a feeling of total satisfaction washed over me. In that warm bread, I knew I held onto a little piece of home.