Greek Essentials: Bread

There is this great food movie, OK it’s a kiddie show, but I love the way Ratatouille shows the value of great food and the art of cooking. But that aside, there is this legendary scene where the chef Colette is trying to explain what to look for in good bread. She says (imagine a French accent) “How do you tell a good bwead is without tasting it. It is not the smell, not the look, but the sound… The cwust, listen. Ah… symphony of cwackle. Only gweat bread sound this way.”
Fresh Greek bread from my local bakery sounds this way. I must confess I have a ritual. Each school morning after I drop the kids off at school, on my walk home I stop in and visit “my” hole in the wall of a bakery. It is almost cavelike, it is so dark that it takes a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the original-retro decor. Before this happens my sense of smell is assaulted by the mouthwatering aroma of freshly risen and baked bread. I am greeted immediately by a lady who is old, so old in fact that I think she has looked that way for 30 years. She is lively and personable and over the last few years I have been accepted, by her at any rate, as “local”.
Usually she is laughing at her son (who is the actual baker, he looks old too) it seems that I always interrupt some terribly funny private joke. The exchange goes like this (and yes, it is in Greek.)
“So my child what would you like today?”
To which I reply “I would like a half kilo loaf with sesame seeds please.”
Laughing again (this time at me) “Always the same…always the same. Do they not have bread with sesame seeds in Canada?”
Laughing, I respond “Yes they do, but it’s not as good as yours.”
Knowing that I am overtly flattering her, she blesses me with sayings that I cannot begin to translate, sending me out the door with my very own loaf, that when squeezed “cwackles” just like a good bread should.
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