The Traditions of Breaking Bread Since Neolithic times, wheat and bread has held a sacred role in human societies. Sacred is a big word, but when you imagine how our ancestors were reliant on each harvest for their community’s survival, a kernel of grain takes on larger significance.
In today’s modern world, disconnected as we are with where our food comes from, it’s easy to fall into the habit of seeing bread as just another product, a food item made up grams of carbs and proteins. Too many of us spend no time in gardens, let alone time standing in a wheat field, contemplating the wonders that will feed us through the winter. Thanksgiving is when we gather with family and friends, those we hold near and dear to us. This time of year presents us with an opportunity to relearn some reverence for the things that truly nourish us. A perfect time to institute new traditions in the sprit of old gratitude.
The word companion comes from Latin com- “with” + panis “bread.” The traditional practice of “breaking bread” is an acknowledgement of our collective need for friendship, trust and safety, all of which live in the moment when we share our food. If you’ve accepted the challenge of eating within 50km for your Thanksgiving meal, you’re on your way to creating the new customs that can elevate the spirits around your table.
It can be as simple as passing a tear-and-share centrepiece at the start of the meal. As each person tears their piece of bread, they’re invited to share something for which they are grateful. Or you can get elaborate with your grain choice and present a hearty loaf of spelt or rye on a wooden board. The board is passed around and the slices are cut with the same outpouring of appreciation.
At True Grain, we value this cycle of farmer-miller-bakercommunity. We recognise it as doing more than filling a gap in a marketplace, rather it provides an access point to bread as it used to be – handcrafted using locally grown and milled grain. On paper it seems a simple process, but we know it’s rooted in something deeper. We hope you’ll make bread a central part of your 50km Thanksgiving feast. When you’re gathered at your table, take a moment to look at your bounty and try to calculate how many hands it took to create your meal. We promise that your food will never taste so good.
Submitted by Sophia Jackson