Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bread and Butter

As elemental as bread and butter are I never tire of them.  Even more so because there is seemingly no limitation upon their scope. Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter for example is superb, a product with which my more refined and gastronomically-inclined friends are I discovered already well acquainted. Closer to home I have today been introduced to a product from Prince Edward Island. Happily for me it also captures a maritime connection (perhaps it is the sea salt to which I inadvertently allude).

"COWS CREAMERY Sea Salted butter is a premium butter containing 84% butter fat in comparison to the 80% in regular butters. Our butter is made by churning the cream slower and longer in traditional churns. This creates a creamier taste and silkier texture. Sea salt is added to provide a premium taste."

I grew up upon less than exotic culinary experiences - unless you count Welsh Rarebit as something extraordinary! Like most children my early kitchen selections were primarily intended to be palatable (and perhaps nutritious) - though I do recall sampling a friend's crispy, fried grasshoppers. For relief they may have been covered in chocolate. It wasn't until I began cavorting with His Lordship and my erstwhile physician that I discovered the pleasures of such exotic peasant food as Osso Buco and Bagna Caôda. Certainly I adored a summary experiment with Beluga sturgeon caviar but it is not a habit I have sought to cultivate or repeat.  My preferences - like blended Scotch whiskey versus single malt - tend to be more robust. And less expensive.

"No, dear readers, we’re not talking about any old warm bath, and certainly not the kind with bubbles and floating soap-dishes, no we’re talking about the famed “warm bath” of the Piemonte and Liguria regions of northern Italy, that, as much as you might want to, you don’t actually climb into yourself.

Also spelled bagna càuda, this garlic, anchovy, oil and butter dipping sauce is to these parts of Italy what fondue is to the Swiss, and is typically consumed communally from a large central pot into which sharers dip their bread or raw, boiled or roasted vegetables. Like fondue, bagna caôda is always served hot, as it’s name suggests, and is usually eaten in the autumn and winter as an appetizer, starter or, even, a main course."

Like salted butter, the anchovies and olive oil provide the same compelling essentials. It is no accident that bread is an imperative for both, leading one inevitably to question whether man does not indeed live by bread alone!

In the first temptation, the devil plays on Christ’s hunger, and suggests he satisfy it by miraculously transforming stones into bread: 'If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.' The Tempter urges Jesus to use his divine power in a self-centered way, in a way that is outside of his salvific mission. Jesus, of course, cannot be diverted in this manner. Thus he said in reply, 'It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.'

The spiritual alliance between man and bread is added proof of its significance. Were I asked, I might enlarge the dimension to include subtle Brie.  Others may broaden the compass further by mentioning wine. Though scandalously I can bear the deprivation of wine, I coincidentally purchased today some honey to ornament my morning concoction (and confessed narcotic) of mixed raw nuts. Honey naturally equates with bread and butter. Its various pleasing aromas are magical! As yet I haven't located a local supplier of raw honeycomb such as we were able over the winter to indulge in Florida (though the product was from Georgia).

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