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The Trouble With Amish Friendship Bread


Amish Friendship Bread Before


Amish Friendship Bread Imagined
by Liz MacAvery

This is more than a recipe - it's a way of thinking. In our hi-tech world almost everything comes prepackaged and designed for instant gratification. So where does a recipe that takes ten days to make fit in? Maybe it's a touch stone to our past - to those days not so very long ago when everything we did took time and where a bread that took 10 days to make was not as extraordinary as it seems today.
(Armchair World, Los Angeles, California)

A little bit ago, a former friend of mine (she was once a very good friend (but the Amish put an end to that); I will explain. And I apologize because what happens to you may not be the case for me when your suburban friends visit. Pretty much, visits take a predictable course. A matinee, lunch and a quick trip into the sales offices of some up and coming new coop or condominium or condop sales office.

By way of full disclosure, I would say that everyone I know has a great interest in Real Estate. Plus, sometimes, I need friends to know why I live here. No, we're not broke, no, we didn't lose it all in the tech bubble. It's a nice place, convenient to all that NYC offers and there are wonderful people here. And you have to explain that you got a really good deal here and the bathtub ring around the hallway floor and the peculiar choice of colors in the lobby will change. Soon, really. And, really, grime on elevator doors doesn't matter, nor do those exposed wires all over the place. They're fine. And, after a bit one hardly notices them. And, wonderfully, we have a yard. And, yes, they're working on landscaping, don't judge the place because you're entering our home through the backdoor of building one. The place initially hired incompetent landscapers, but they have new guys. And they know all about shade plantings. Really.

But, I'm piling on. Pretty much this started out for you to have "starter" for Amish Friendship Bread. Because I have a refrigerator-full of this stuff. My ex friend bought it at the Amish Market. And she sent some to me and I have nourished it. Stupid.

The idea is that you grow a yeast-based concoction and use it to rise a cinnamon flavored bread. And, I suspect it's supposed to be a nice thing to pass on. This starter stuff. Sorta’ like a peculiar Ponzi scheme to alleviate world hunger with leavened bread. Hello, suburbs, have you never heard of Jewish celebrations of unleavened bread? Does anyone think that Amish Friendship Bread would have helped Moses?...Changed the course of historical dietary requirements? Are your friends sending this stuff to you, or is it a peculiar thing reserved for the formerly suburban deranged?

Me, I have no idea. I speak with my sisters in NJ, my sister-in-law in Florida and two friends (one in Ohio and one in California) all of whom are growing starter for Amish friendship bread.

I've obviously lost it. Thing is, I've this growing yeast stuff. Lots of it. I have the detailed instructions about it and was lulled into participation because detailed instructions started out with: "Day One, do nothing". Ahhhh, those sneaky Amish. Anyway, for days and days I've been growing this stuff. And I have it in various plastic containers (thank goodness for Clinton Street's 99 cent store) even though directions call for storing it in zip loc bags (which, incidentally, does not sound quite Amish to me) recommended this.

Anyway, if you would like some Amish Friendship Bread starter, e-mail me. I also have instructions about what to do with it, but I can guarantee it will not be a friendly thing, and I don't believe that it will do anything to alleviate world hunger, even though I initially bought into this idea. I'm going to toss all tomorrow, so time is of essence...

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