Fresh BreadThe Project: To bake and give away at least one loaf of bread each week in 2011.

The Reason: A personal protest against the rampant selfishness of our society.

The Bonus: It’s good spiritual practice.

In May, I gave away five and a half loaves of bread. A funny number, I know. I gave one loaf each to Alice and Joel Johnson; Richard Fortin, the director of our library; my daughter Shannon; Jim and Dawna Leavitt; and Mary and Tom Sturtevant. I gave a half loaf to Bob and Kate Johnson, and if ever a couple deserved a whole loaf of bread, it would be Bob and Kate. However, we had all gathered for a meal at Shannon and her husband, Mike’s, new place in South Portland. (I’ve written about this in a previous post.) I brought two loaves of bread, and we ate half of one. One loaf went to Shannon, and rather than take a half loaf home, I asked Kate if she would like it, and she said, yes. Very soon a whole loaf will be heading her way.

Now that summer is upon us, I’ve had to rethink my giving strategy. All last winter and into spring, I really didn’t have to plan ahead about giving bread. I could decide last minute, and give the recipients a quick call. Always, they were home. But with the advent of summer come plans, and people go away either for the day or longer. Mary and Tom nearly didn’t get theirs because they had gone for the day, but they were so keen to get homemade bread that they called as soon as they returned—I had left a message on their machine—and they got their loaf of bread.

Somehow, though, I have been reluctant to call before I see how the bread comes out. I would say that 98 percent of the time, the bread comes out well enough so that I feel comfortable giving it away. But occasionally the bread doesn’t rise as it should, or it falls a little. Naturally, this bread is perfectly good enough for my husband, Clif, and I to eat. (Bread has to be very bad indeed for us to toss it.) But if it doesn’t have a full, rounded pretty look, then I really don’t like to give it away.

In fact, on the week of May 18th, that’s exactly what happened. I made bread to give away, but the loaves looked kind of anemic—who knows why?—and I decided the bread should stay with us. I still reached my goal for the month, which was four loaves of bread. As it turned out, I surpassed it, but it worries me to offer bread before I see what it looks like.

Still, now that it is summer, that is probably what I will have to do. And if the bread is not quite as pretty as I would like, then so be it. Chances are, it will taste better than most of what can be bought at the store, especially in Winthrop.

Total for May: As previously stated, 5 1/2 loaves

Total for the year: 29 1/2 loaves

The year isn’t half over, but I’m well past my half-way goal of 26 loaves.


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