Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Daily Bread

Ever wondered how your daily bread gets to your table?

I doubt it first saw light from some huge air-conditioned factory equipped with rows of perpetually humming conveyors and flailing robotic arms moving the emerging bread from one process to another. Until they are packaged and delivered to your favorite retailer.

Most likely, it originated from some small and cramped “sweat-shop” in many locales in the city and outlying towns, manned by a team of serious and sweaty workers. Literally, a sweat-shop because baking bread and cookies requires a lot of heat from preparation, to actual baking, and ultimately to retailing. Everybody wants his bread hot, if not warm when consuming it.

So workplaces are kept at least above normal temperature, most especially during the preparation – for the yeast to grow and expand the dough.

So your bread probably comes from a workplace quite similar to this. Pans and pans of bread manhandled by sweaty bakers and toasted by cagey horneros.

So in quiet recognition for those who labored with sweaty faces and furrowed brows to provide you with your daily bread, sweat a bit when taking a bite off your favorite pan de sal or pancho. Or belguim, or elorde.

…and pray to deliver you from having to eat day-old bread.


  1. I like my bread hard crusty and wheaty. Rye is my favorite. Fresh is not necessary. Its hard to find "good" bread here. The locals like it soft, gooey and sweet... yuck

  2. Phil:

    Most people in PI bread serves as stand-alone food staple, and thus eaten by itself. Unlike say in US when typically it is taken as part of something else, like a sandwich or a soup dish.

    Thus, here bread has to be either salty or sweet, and not bland in taste.

  3. You have to admit folks here have a different pallet. I mean sugar and hotdogs in spaghetti sauce? I'm with you on bland bread. American white bread sucks. Give me Turkish Ekmek, San Francisco sourdough, or German pumpernickel, but the bread here tends to such soft sweetness that its more snackcake than bread.

  4. How right you are, Phil.

    With the Filipinos, it is akin to eating cake without Marie Antoinette having to express the option of letting them eat cake because bread is scarce.

    After all Filipino bread is cake.

    We opened that little bakery that is featured and I assure you that that is how the bakers view their task, though they are hard put when asked to make a regular sponge cake.


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