Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friendship Bread

Yesterday a trip to the garden meant a morning spent in the kitchen making tomato juice and
stirring up a double batch of banana zucchini bread.  While this bread wasn't truly a
friendship bread recipe, it brought to mind the delightful book Friendship Bread by Darien Gee that I read this spring.  And yes, I did share some of my banana bread!

Julia Evans and her five year old daughter Gracie discover a warm loaf of friendshp bread on their front porch, along with a bag of starter, and a simple note, " I hope you enjoy it."  Who could have made it
and what should Julia do with the starter?  She can barely force herself to get up each day and interact with her daughter and husband.  Brittle and fragile Julia is entrapped in grief over her son's accidental death, an accident that has left Julia alienated from her only sister.  A rare trip outside her home created by the need to dispose of some friendship starter brings Julia to the new tea shop that has opened in an old Victorian home.  Widow Madeline Davis, new to town, is trying to keep her dream shop afloat.
She, Julia, and Hannah Wang, a famous celloist, also new to the small Illinois town will forge a friendship that will help all three women face their personal heartaches.  Meanwhile, friendship bread,
new recipes, and most important of all that yeasty smelling starter keep increasing by the day.  Soon no one in town is left who hasn't been affected.  You will laugh at the responses.
Anyone who has ever been "gifted" a bag of starter, whether called Amish friendship bread or Herman,
can related to the citizens' reactions.  Did you quietly take it and then hope you could dispose of it?
Do you get almost angry when you see yet another set of starter bags sitting on the lunch table at work?
Or do you see the starter as a genuine friendship token and use it as such?  Don't worry, you'll see all these reactions in the book.  Friendship Bread is guaranteed to sweeten your day with no added calories (unless you start sampling the recipes included).

I believe this is a first book for author Darian Gee, and she has a website that supports the book.  Just as the book offers recipes for the starter and variations on the bread, the website offers even more.
People from all over have been perfecting recipes and adding to the collection.  As for me, I thouroughly enjoyed the premise of the book and wonder if the ladies could return in more books.  I thought the recipes sounded tasty, but I just couldn't take that first step to create my own batch of starter.  Maybe, just maybe, if I've given some in the future I'll take better care of it and try some of the tempting recipes. 

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