Bread: A Cultural Study

It’s no surprise that Dutch people like their bread. The filling of a sandwich seems like an afterthought: a few thin slices of cheese placed between two thick loaf-sized pieces of bread.

Having grown up in a very health conscious household (see My Happy Place) and with American bread tasting mostly like cardboard and acting only as a vessel for sandwich meat, I never understood this Dutch love. Since March, my husband has jumped eagerly onto the sourdough baking train. He hums and haws about his bread, and panics if there is even the slightest possibility we may run out.

I shrug, and skip it usually, preferring to save my stomach space for things I enjoy more (like Popcorn). But the other day, I had an epiphany at lunch. I do sometimes actually like bread, but in the less popular, perhaps more provincial kind of way. I absolutely love a fresh and fluffy hamburger bun. That airy, zero nutritional value taste makes my toes curl with joy.

My mom never used to let us eat white bread when we were little. It was whole wheat or bust in our house, perhaps making me appreciate a good fresh, generically made and generically produced meat-holding (ie hamburger or hotdog) roll. When the Dutch and the Germans start a war about who has the better, tastier, more creative bread creations, I come out of left field and vote for something no one really wants or even considers: the bag of bread most people throw away after their cook-out.

But, friends, I had a romance at lunch the other day. I mixed a good ol’ American hamburger roll with some butter and Dutch chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag) for a marriage between two cultures, neither making much sense but both being a perfect match together.

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