Writing over at the Glorious Table about long friendships and Amish Friendship Bread. It’s a good combo. See below for a preview or link to the full post here.
Many years ago, someone gave me a “starter” of Amish friendship bread. As I don’t cook, bake, or really do much of anything that falls under the “domestically gifted” category, I had never done this before. I remember holding that bag of goo and reading the instructions, learning that I had to do something to it each day for (wait for it) ten days! For those familiar with this patience-developing pastry, this will not shock you. But, for a girl whose idea of baking mostly includes breaking apart pre-made cookie dough squares that are done in 10-12 minutes, this was quite a stretch.
As ridiculous as it seemed to repeatedly squash a bag of goo for ten days, occasionally adding ingredients, I did it. Why? Partly because I was curious, partly because I am a compulsive rule-follower, and partly because I had been given the bag of goo from a friend and I felt obligated. You can’t give a bag of goo with instructions to a girl like me and not expect it to be followed, at least once. What I didn’t see coming was how many times I was going to follow those ten days of instructions. Because, as it turns out, Amish friendship bread is incredible.
The first time I got to the ten-day mark, I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. I’m reasonably sure that I must have either gone out and purchased a loaf pan or, got out a wedding present that I had never used before to hold the long-suffering goo. I put it in the oven as directed, occupied myself for the required hour of cooking (again, what is with the patience needed for this bread?!), and then dumped its sugary-crusted cinnamon-y awesomeness out onto a cooling rack. I know I said I’m no chef but even I could tell, this looked and smelled incredible.
Needless to say, the Amish friendship bread did not make it through its first evening in our home. Even with no children yet in our family, my husband and I finished it in one night. Knowing it was going to take ten more days to enjoy another one, I got another bag of goo going. And again. And again. I cannot tell you how many rounds of ten days we waited on that bread until eventually, at some point, we decided to cut ourselves off. As wonderful as it was, it probably wasn’t good for either of us to keep eating a full loaf of it in one day, even if it was every ten days. But I’m sure glad for the experience, and the parallels it made along the way.
Amish Friendship Bread Mimics Life
Amish friendship bread gets its name from its origins in the Amish culture and community. The history I read suggests that this was originally a simple sourdough starter that was served regularly in Amish homes. Additionally, the easily sharable starter bags were also shared with sick or needy families so they could maintain a bread supply in their own homes. From there, it seems to have developed into more of a dessert or creative baked good, passing between groups of friends for years to facilitate community and connection.
The parallels of the bread itself to the process of friendship aren’t hard to make but, now having friendships that have lasted as long as some of these starter batches have been around, I’m excited to list a few of them…
To read these connections link to the full post here.