Thursday, January 21, 2010

BREAD & CHOCOLATE

JOIN ME FOR MONTHLY MINGLE


Here is bread, which strengthens man's heart, and therefore is called the staff of Life.
- Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714)

Bread, yes, the Staff of Life, Manna from Heaven, yet bread is just flour, yeast and water really, maybe a tad of salt and sugar tossed in. You cannot get more basic than that. Some may call bread bland, some may call it insipid, yet as simple and pure as it is bread is truly a basic necessity, a staple of our diet whatever our culture, whole and complete, rip off a chunk and stuff it in your mouth, earthy and good, yet the perfect blank slate for all the rest that we eat: bread for sandwiches, bread to sop up gravy and sauce, bread for dunking in hot cocoa, bread turned into croutons floating in soup, bread sweetened for puddings or tossed into salads. I am always amazed at how something so plain and simple can be turned into something so succulent, so exotic. Yet bread still remains the best in its plainest, simplest, barest most natural of form. Just bread.


And our need for and love of bread has inspired us to transform the simple daily loaf into an extravaganza of breads, both yeast and quick, both savory and sweet, dark and light, in all manner of shapes and sizes, muffins, scones, biscuits, loaves round, square and braided. Just imagine!

Forget love… I’d rather fall in chocolate.
- Anonymous

And chocolate. Do I really need to vaunt the pleasures of chocolate? Bold and bitter or smooth and sweet, crunchy, crispy, light or dark, rich and luxurious, chocolate has the power to seduce, to inspire, to pull us into a dark, almost spiritual realm. Chocolate, that most mysterious of foods, both soothing and exciting, sinful, comforting and decadent. Chocolate, an object worshipped by many, chocolate in a hundred dazzling ways, able to bring the strongest to their knees, seduce a lover, a source of intense craving that no substitute can appease. Chocolate, food of the gods or food of the devil?


Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with (chocolate*), greatest of feasts.
- James Beard (1903 – 1985) (*change is mine)

Yet bring the two together, rip open a loaf and fill it with chocolate, creamy smooth and sweet or dark, tangy, as bitter as you like, and you have memories of childhood, your hair fluttering in the warm breeze, bare feet on the steamy sidewalk, innocent, whispered gossip between girlfriends, pure pleasure. Or standing in the Home Ec room watching your 8th-grade French teacher roll up chunks of deep, dark chocolate in pale, moist, out-of-the-can biscuit dough, pushing yourself up on tippy toes trying to capture each and every movement of her hands as she creates this special treat for a roomful of impatient students anxious to savor their very first taste of France. Or the memories of that flaky, crisp pain au chocolat on our first trip to Paris, standing on a street corner, rather stunned that we are finally there; stumble into the nearest corner boulangerie and point, grinning, at the plump, golden pastry, just a teasing hint of the chocolate peeping out between the folds.


Bread & Chocolate stirs up visions of tow-headed children on Parisian streets, elegant little children in shiny Mary Janes or black brogues dressed in pleated navy skirts and loden coats, their excited after-school chatter filling the void between honking cars and city sounds, each enfant clutching a hunk of baguette, dense, warm from the boulangerie, a long, narrow bar of chocolate sticking out for all the world to see. Watch them as they bite into the crispy crust, crumbs hurriedly brushed away, joyously ripping into the tender center, * crack * into the slender bar of chocolate Maman or nourrice has so lovingly tucked inside and all thoughts of sharing a crêpe and a glass of wine with a chic young parisien fall aside: this is picture-perfect French romance itself.


Bread & Chocolate, that delectable, irresistible blend of heaven and earth, the voluptuous sweetness, the sumptuousness of chocolate adding elegance to the simplicity of the bread, the wheaty, uncomplicated flatness of the bread taming the sensuous delight of the chocolate. Enjoy the thrill, the soothing, dreamy satisfaction, bite into something close to bliss, Bread & Chocolate.


MONTHLY MINGLE

I am hosting Monthly Mingle this month, an honor bestowed upon me by my very good friend Meeta of the stunning, luscious blog What’s For Lunch Honey? and, after a thoughtful back and forth with her, I have chosen the theme

BREAD & CHOCOLATE

for my Monthly Mingle. So join us, won’t you, and bring along something from your kitchen, create something homey, something elegant or something exotic but do make sure that you follow the theme. Here’s how it works:

1. Create a dish that fits the theme Bread & Chocolate. It can be yeast or quick, in any shape form or size as long as it is bread. Or make your dish using bread and chocolate. As you like.

2. Post about it on your blog between now and Thursday February 18th (entries must be in English, please).

3. Your creation should be prepared for the current Monthly Mingle theme and shared with a maximum of 2 other blog events. Let's try and keep the creations as fresh as the ingredients you use.

4. You must provide a link to this post and/or the official Monthly Mingle page.

5. Please feel free to post - and proudly display - the Monthly Mingle Bread & Chocolate badge within your Monthly Mingle post.


6. Once you’ve posted your entry, please notify me by e-mail at jamieannschler (at) gmail (dot) com and include:
Your name
Your blog’s name and URL
The name of your dish/food/entry and the URL/link to your Monthly Mingle Post
A 350-pixel-wide photo
And please write Monthly Mingle in the subject of your e-mail!!!

I will post the round up on Monday February 22st.

As my decision to host Monthly Mingle was rather last minute/spur of the moment I didn’t have time to cook or bake for it – well, the first half of my project is done – so here are some appropriate recipes that I have baked in the past to help you along, get your mouth watering and get the old brain cells working. Have fun!





34 comments:

Deeba PAB said...

Genius you Jamie...I have to bake for you! Bread & Chocolat! YES!!

Jamie said...

@Deeba PAB - Yes you do! (heart)

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I know just what I'd like to try making for this! It will be a first for me and top secret until I blab about it non-stop on Twitter no doubt.

I do not sadly recall such ecstatic moments in my home economics classes. Just that I got told off blowing bubbles through the cheese grater when washing up.

The Cooking Ninja said...

Can it be combined with BBD?

Happy Cook said...

I came to your place to take the link for BBD as i am writting the post now and then i find out you are doing the MM this month.
Love love the chombo chocolate and bread. I have a recipe with chocolate which I have been wanting to try for a while. If I make that bread I sure will send it over.

Jamie said...

@The Cooking Ninja - Trying to cheat, are we, or just lazy? Well, actually I don't see why not though separate is better. And it'll keep you on yours toes, now, won't it girlie? Come on Pam, give me two, please?

The Cooking Ninja said...

Not trying to cheat but just trying to be more efficent ... the know proverb - kills 2 birds with 1 stone ;) LOL!

Jamie said...

@The Cooking Ninja - Just jazzing ya, honey! And the more work I give you to do the better to keep you off the streets and out of trouble! (he he)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A great event! That is one fabulous combo!

Cheers,

Rosa

Cathy (breadexperience) said...

How cool is that! This fits right in with the other bread I was planning on making this month. It's different than the one I submitted for BBD. Ooh! Can't wait! Time to get started.

doggybloggy said...

ok - I need to get on the stick and make some bread

asiangrrl said...

When I die, this is my idea of heaven. And Alan Rickman. What could be better?

Kurdistan said...

love this i wanna try it

glamah16 said...

Always hoping I have time to participate. But I look forward to seeing it all.

Junglefrog said...

O what a lovely theme for this month's monthly mingle!! I will have to participate now that your hosting Jamie!

Ino said...

Bread and chocolate, two of my favourite foods! I've got a good idea, now I've just got to find some time to make it!

Barbara Bakes said...

Doesn't everything taste better with a little chocolate! I'll see what I can come up with!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Oh my! I remember eating the chocolate breads when I was in France 30 years ago. What a revelation! So delicious. Great theme!

Mary said...

You do such a great job of marketing that folks will be banging on the door to participate. Good luck!

5 Star Foodie said...

Sounds like a great event, I can't wait to see what everyone will come up with! I would love to participate with the chocolate corn muffins but I already posted them :(

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow match made in heaven what a fun event

Sippity Sup said...

Boys did not get to take Home Ec in my School. We had to take shop! Oh well... GREG

Jamie said...

@Sippity Sup - Ah, those were the good old days, huh, Greg? Same when I was in school.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Jamie, this sounds like a wonderful event. I'll be following along to see what every body prepares.
Sam

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a fabulous idea Jamie! I'm definitely going to try and make something for this. Mmm I can even taste it right now :D

MeetaK said...

this is going to be fun! i've got BBD done already now need to see if I can get MM and MacTweet completed before i leave on Saturday!

Cindystar said...

great theme, jamie!
sure you can count on me, gonna put the banner as reminder!

Jeanne @ Cooksister! said...

What a fabulous theme - and I am going to try really hard to participate. I've been so bad at events just lately...

Sari said...

I'm very bad, I haven't participated in any blog event yet. Shame on me! This one is a challenge for me, love the theme! I will have to try hard this time.

Sophie said...

What a grand theme, Jamie!


MMMMM,...bread & chocolate!

tasteofbeirut said...

Very inspiring event! Thanks!

Cristie said...

I just saw Cathy's at Bread Experience and it looks so yummy- I think I may have to join the group!

Jamie said...

@Cristie: Oh, come on! The more the merrier!

Soma said...

A sensational theme..
Just mailed you my entry Jamie.

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