Monday, February 21, 2011

A Loaf of Bread

Most people who go to home shows and look at vinyl siding, solar panels, and the latest in kitchen cabinetry aren't drawn into distant and pleasant memories by the business displays.

I was pleased that my booth, although taking up the same space in the same noisy corridor, was different.

Among the visitors, one elderly woman came to a standstill in front of a very large photo showing freshly baked round loaves of bread in front of the wood-fired brick oven from which they had come. She seemed to be traveling somewhere in her memories, and curious, I waited a while and then asked her what she thought.
She talked about her native home, the town of Leon, in Nicaragua where she had grown up. She said that there were baking ovens that were wood-fired, (here I was able to chime in with my Spanish and I spoke the word for firewood). She described the mornings when she would bring home warm loaves and she told me that the same ovens would bake many chickens at a time and how juicy they were.
The ten minutes with this lady reminded me that few, if any, of the objects we use every day span so many cultures and reach so deeply into our individual and collective memories.

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