Embedding for the Bread

 a long way to the shops

Traveling has certainly offered me a great deal of enlightenment with respect to bread. One endeavor, exciting and spontaneous, was in Western Africa. I traveled in through the north and found my way into various desert areas in Algeria in which I latched on to a caravan that took me southward into Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Ghana, and eventually to Nigeria. This caravan has some suspicious motives, but carrying me along was a benefit to them as it made them look less suspicious when they approached cities, towns and villages to trade and sell and offer whatever they could for sustenance along the way.

Fortunately, communities seemed to be much more liberal with the expenditure of bread. They had huge ovens located outside that would provide the whole community with bread. They more than happily offered it to us. Sometimes it was too much, but you had to conform to the pleasantry and finish what was put in front of you, no matter the pains it often caused.

This epic journey was as much a surprise to me as it most definitely is to the reader. Each time we approached a new area, they allowed us to bring what we could with and were always hospitable. The bread itself was of a wide variety. Sometimes it was served as part of a meal and other times it was exclusive and meant to be had dry. Occasionally it was in the form of pita, sometimes as a larger block. It could very well have been very hard and tough to eat, but most in the caravan had no qualms jeopardizing the integrity of their teeth for a good nights sleep.

I looked at it a bit differently, but I must say, altogether, I learn an immense deal about bread. How to bake it, the time and care spent, and how much of a community ritual it can be depending on where you are.

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