Give Us This Day

Warning. This post is not about religion but bread, although it’s hard to resist segueing into the religious connotations associated with bread, not to mention bread’s best mate, wine. As these two life-giving basics feature often in my daily life, I give thanks but I’m not sure who to. I remember the ending of the Lord’s prayer quite well: it always signified the end of Mass which meant freedom was just around the corner. I also recall the hilarious Mondegreen* of my younger sister’s friend, Cecilia, whose child’s voice could be heard clearly from a nearby pew, as she chanted

         “Give us this day our daily bread…. and deliver us from eagles, Amen”

I  rather like this alternate ending and I think my chickens feel the same way too.

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Buon Giorno. Il pane del giorno.

The joys of bread are almost too numerous to list. Unassuming and humble, bread is central to most western meals. The breaking of bread at the table amongst friends, the dipping of bread into new season’s olive oil, the grilling of bread for bruschetta or the morning toasting of yesterday’s loaf, smothering it with quince jam, or Vegemite, or just butter. The dunking of bread into soup, or the submerging of bread under Italian Ribollita or French onion soup. The left over stale loaf crumbed and stored to top a future  gratin, or cubed then baked in garlicky oil for croutons. Given the effort gone into baking a good loaf of bread, (even if you haven’t made it yourself), it seems a sin to waste it.

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Zuppa di fagioli bianchi e bietola, con pane di ieri. The bread turns this soup into a meal.

Bread making has a certain rhythm: once the pattern is broken, it takes a bit of discipline to get it all happening again. My sourdough bread takes 24 hours to come to fruition: one day of feeding my starter, beginning at 7 am,  with 4-5 hours between each feed. One evening of mixing and stretching, which takes very little time, but requires my presence at home. An overnight rise of around 8 hours followed by an early start at around 6 am  to shape, rise and re- shape at  7 am. Into the oven, a 40 minute bake, and there you have it. Fresh bread by 8 am, 24 hours later. Cost, around 50 cents a loaf. Very little work, but bucket loads of discipline, and a ritualistic start to each day, not unlike meditating or praying.

The aroma of freshly baked bread is a morning sensory pleasure, only to be rivalled by the smell of a good curry in the evening or the aroma of slow baked quinces on a chilly Autumn day.

Don’t waste good bread. Sermon over.

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“A mondegreen is a mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony that gives it a new meaning. Mondegreens are most often created by a person listening to a poem or a song; the listener, being unable to clearly hear a lyric, substitutes words that sound similar, and make some kind of sense. American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term  in 1954, writing about how as a girl she had misheard the lyric “…and laid him on the green” in a Scottish ballad as “…and Lady Mondegreen”

“Pinker gives the example of a student stubbornly mishearing the chorus to ” I’m Your Venus” as I’m your penis, and being surprised that the song was allowed on the radio.

More examples of well known mondegreens can be found here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

31 thoughts on “Give Us This Day”

  1. That’s hilarious! Mine was Good King Wencess last looked out…! It took years of retraining to get it right. My brother-in-law relates to the chorus “I’m free” in Yothu Yindi song – he heard it as “Humphrey”. A time when Humphrey Bear was popular!!! Certainly a bit of cross culture there. Loving the bread stories.

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  2. I like your Good King version Peter, stick to that one. All the other ones I remember are too crude to add here as a comment but one was definitely from Madonna’s “Like a Virgin— xx for the very first time” but I think that was an intended mishearing…

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  3. Lovely post Francesca. Need to revive my starter and get back to bread making. Speaking of a mondegreen, my daughter Miri had a great one after her first year of listening to the national anthem at school…she thought the first line was ‘Australians all in ostriches…’ which I still love and mentally sing whenever I hear it! Ostriches and eagles…love it. And bread. Love that too ❤

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      1. Ha, ha. The pledge of allegiance to the American flag has a well-known Mondegreen (first time I ever heard the word):
        I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for (Richard Stands) which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible…
        No one knows who Richard Stands is, but he’s quite well known amongst school children.

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  4. I was drawn in by the cover photo of your gorgeous loaves and beginning to read the post, I was stopped in my tracks at what came after, “not to mention bread’s best mate.” The voice in my head was loudly proclaiming, “BUTTER,” as I read your “wine.” I thought, well, that’s a good answer, too, and maybe the butter speaks to my German heritage. Compliments on your commitment to making your own bread from scratch – the crusts look divine and I can almost smell it from here. I use a machine…

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    1. Butter does go extremely well, but in terms of religion, it had to be wine. Some of my favourite Italian quotes only mention bread and wine being an essential to a meal, anything else being pure luxury. Like you, I like butter on bread, and just had a fat slice, with mozzarella and beetroot relish.
      I can only eat sourdough bread. I used to use a machine many years ago, but find this bread more satisfying to make and to eat.

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  5. I love my bread routine which is very similar to you own except I don’t jump out of bed early to attend to it first thing. It’s very patient with me and rewards no matter how long it proves. Bread, wine and cheese, bread butter and vegemite, just warm unadorned crusty bread, I love them all and after years in a bread free desert it’s like manna from heaven, I too gives thanks daily (to Celia) for sourdough

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  6. I don’t jump out of bed for bread ( nice rhyming) because I am already awake. I have a body clock that is set for dawn or even pre-dawn. Why oh Lord? Yes Manna from Heaven and yes, thanks to our Celia.

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  7. Earlier this year I remember thinking how generous it is of you to bake so much bread and eat so little of it yourself. It seemed like something beyond my ability, or certainly proclivity. Now, finding myself in a position of not eating it at all but still enjoying the process of making it feels like a personal growth moment has occurred. What I have realised is I enjoy the alchemy of it, the creative process, and just by the way, the SMELL that fills the house when it bakes. Altogether it is no wonder ‘our daily bread’ has such deep meaning and history. Thank you for being one of my inspirations, Francesca. Best of the new year to you and Mr. T. xx

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    1. Much merriment later and far too much Prosecco, I am wishing you all the best for the coming year and also to you dear ones. And thank you for the kind words and encouragement along the way Ardys.
      With regard to bread, I find that I can eat more when its drowned or wetted in some way. I love it under soup. My issues with bread come and go, along with any form of starchy food- rice and potato too. Weird. I am eating it at present.

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  8. Maus tells me the story how she used to think the line “The price of our iniquity” in the hymn :Hail Queen of Heaven” was “The price of Lan Choo tea”

    and the prayer Hail Mary “Blessed art thou amongst women” was “Blessed art thou a monk swimming” . No wonder she saw the light and has given Catholicism the miss. None of it would have made much sense to a kid.

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    1. I’m with Maus- those prayers were mighty meaningless at the time. I like this idea of the monk swimming in that prayer, goes nicely with the fruit of her womb, another phrase that’s scary for a young girl. And Lan Choo tea- Maus has a great ear for mondegreens.

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  9. I haven’t experienced many sermons but i would probably put my hand up to if they were like this! I think I would win a competition for stuffing up lyrics, that is something I know I am really good at. My favourite SD is toasted with banana ever so lightly mashed/sliced and sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon sugar, eaten with a cup of Lan-Choo of course!

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