Saturday I bought a long thin loaf of stale French bread. Sliced it up, drowned it in eggs and sugar and cinnamon and raisins and coconut milk (Youngest is going dairy-free for a time, as we try to ease her stomach pain.) I poured it all in the pink speckled baking dish that belonged to my grandma, and nestled the pink baking dish in a pan of water in the oven. The whole house was warm and sweet with its baking. Yesterday we ate it for dessert.
Sometimes I call this cooking, sometimes I call it an act of war. Against stale bread, against the things I cannot control, against darkness in general.
It is profoundly comforting and hopeful to me that stale bread can be turned into something good. Maybe not exciting-good the way some desserts are, but still. I love that you can take something nobody would really want and turn it into something soft and warm and sweet. There’s a kind of magic in that. Or maybe art is a better word.
Of course, stale bread is nothing compared to what frightens me and angers me and breaks my heart. But to be able to do something, right there in the place I’m in—to use my own two hands to make something good—is powerful. Sometimes it is an outright act of faith.
If stale bread can have new life, what else can be transformed?
If there’s one streak of light in this place, maybe there’s more to be found.
And here you thought it was just bread pudding.