THE MAGIC OF BREAD
Celebrating the collaboration with Gail’s Bakery
This piece is A celebration of bread, of community, of collaboration, & of the slow groove of Sunday. All simple pleasures which shine light into our lives and bring joy to our days.
It is a shared appreciation for the magic of mornings that led to a collaboration between Desmond & Dempsey and GAIL’s Bakery. Together, they have created The Sunday Rise, a print that kneads GAIL’s recipes and motifs with the style and colour of D&D, finding a home for it within both of their worlds.
“Initially my fondness for GAIL’s was more of a hungry lust for their ham and cheese croissants, but as it became part of our morning ritual, I grew to love our local bakery for the sense of neighbourhood it gave me. I saw and heard the magic of hot coffee and a hand-made loaf”.
Molly (Founder of D&D) on the collaboration. In the same spirit of collaboration, The Sunday Paper has partnered with The Curious Pear (our beloved foodie duo who in fact wrote D&D’s first-ever blog series, Bread Sundays) to explore bread as a community bedrock, as an international language that transcends boards and, of course, a simple essential for the slow Sunday mornings we love most.
Mornings have never been my favourite time of day. If you fall into the ‘night owl’ personality bracket, you may sympathise with my seething resentment towards the alarm clock, the daily sensation of walking through tar to the bathroom and shocking myself to life with a splash of cold water before searching the sleep-soaked recesses of my mind for the day of the week.
This has always been the way, and I’ve come to accept that it probably always will be. However, there is one thing that gets me out of bed like nothing else, including bright sunshine, birthdays and Christmas day, and that is bread.
Thick, crunchy, butter-slicked toast has punctuated my mornings since I can remember. It has come to represent the turning point in the day, when I turn from grouchy she-wolf to functioning human being.
I saw it as a major step towards adulthood when my flatmate and I began buying fresh bread from the local baker’s.
We would tear chunks out of it as we walked home, rejoicing in its crackly crust and fluffy insides, deciding what we were going to do with it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This perfectly crafted, handmade kind of bread is what I ache for on a jaded Saturday morning, or after a long flight. The kind of bread that makes heartache better and hangovers bearable. Food can be complex, colourful and tirelessly crafted, but there are few things that satisfy that unnamable human desire for comfort more than a simple loaf of bread.
Bread has been a central staple of our diets since the Neolithic era, when we were binding cereals and water into a paste to be cooked over fire.
12,000 years later, there is a bread for every culture, every religion, every region, every season. There are languages (including Greek and Punjabi) where the word bread is used as a synecdoche for food, and in Russian, the expression ‘bread and salt’ is just another way of saying ‘hello’.
When travelling, spotting the local bread can sometimes give you more of a sense of a place than its greatest landmarks.
When I think of Turkey, I always remember the small crowds gathering around food stalls selling sesame-studded rings of simit. In India, it is the homemade chapatis I think of, washed down with sugary chai on steamy station platforms.
When I went to visit my brother in San Francisco, we queued for hours to have brunch at Tartine, where the sourdough is almost as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge.
Made up of cheap, abundant ingredients found in every corner of the globe, bread is often the culinary centrepiece - the promise of satiation at the heart of the table.
It can be the star of a recipe (Italian bruschetta, Aussie avocado toast, Spanish pan con tomate topped with glistening jamon), an essential side to scoop up every last drop of a dish (hole-pocked Ethiopian injera for mopping up Doro Wat; flaky South Indian parathas; Turkish pita piled with hummus and pulled, minty lamb), or an enriching ingredient thrown in to thicken up a meal (an Italian panzanella; British bread sauce or Polish Żurek soup that is said to “make a man as strong as a wall”).
When all else fails, it’s time for toast - stuck in the oven with sharp cheddar, topped with tomatoes or glistening with salty butter.
On Sunday mornings, the very act of picking up a loaf of bread, lifting it out of its brown paper and filling the table with things to pile it with can feel like the only part of the week that really matters. And on those rare Sundays when everything falls sloppily into place, when the coffee is just right, the time doesn’t matter, and you can break bread with the people you really want to be with, that’s exactly what it is.
Words and photography by The Curious Pear.