3 november 2010

My Friend Trine Krebs rye bread story!

Return of the rye bread – 34 Danish female eyewitnesses

My grandparents – they gave up the tradition

My grandparents – all peasants in small family farms – ate rye bread everyday all through their lives. At least, I think they did. We never spoke about it – and now my grandparents are dead. But I sense that they did. I saw they did. History says they did. It was just one of those daily life things of which we did not speak. Two meals all through their lives – at least – with rye bread. I never saw my grandmothers bake rye bread, though. Perhaps they just got enough of that work, because I know they must have been baking rye bread for big family farm households with many children and folks. My grandmothers stopped the tradition of baking rye bread, and I don’t know why – and I cannot ask them. But we know the answer, don’t we? At some point they could buy rye bread cheaper at a grocery store – and they stopped baking rye bread. They continued to bake cakes and wheat bread – but never the rye bread. They gave up the traditional Scandinavian bread. They stopped the household’s own production of the daily bread.

My mother – she tried
When I was a teen my mother had a 80s healthy food TRIP. It happened to a lot of people in the eighties, I recon. My mother took up baking rye bread. It was an awful experience for my brother, my sister, and me. The rye bread was tasteless, it fell apart, it was dry, heavy, sour, and sticky. For all I remember it was embarrassing to have friends over for a meal with my mothers healthy rye bread-revival. I preferred meals at my friends’ houses where the rye bread was processed, industrialised, and sweet. At some point my poor mother gave up baking rye bread. I guessed she realised that it was not worth the effort – her children not enjoying her work.

Me – I wish I could take my grandmother baking rye bread
All through my school life I had rye bread for my lunch. Open sandwiches made by my mother – I took the lunch to school in a box. Always rye bread! I liked rye bread – apart from my mother’s homemade trip. I ate my lunch packets everyday. I never thought about having other choices like white bread. All my school friends had rye bread for lunch – served from a box. We ate our lunches because we were hungry and then we went straight to the playground, afterwards.

When I was grown up, educated and graduated in the food business I had homemade rye bread at my best friend’s mother. I liked it. My husband liked it. We got the recipe and a small glass of sourdough and went straight home to do rye bread. We have baked our own rye bread ever since. It’s part of our daily life that we cherish and share with each other. And we laugh and say that this sourdough has been alive ever since the day we got it – and actually that was in the beginning of our relationship four years ago, so we joke about how important it is to keep our relationship-sourdough alive.

Only we can keep it alive
The awaking of the rye bread tradition actually means a lot to me. Here I can examine different varieties of rye – how they taste, what are their baking characteristics. From my parents-in-law we got our own table mill for our wedding, so I can really taste what freshly milled rye does to my bread. I know that it is healthy for me. It’s incredible easy and you can mix in millions and millions of different ingredients. It’s a never ending story – and it is the heart in our household – and what else we have in the fridge does not really matter – because we can always toast some rye bread and eat it with butter – or freshly baked, just plain. Home made rye bread keeps incredibly well, and furthermore it does not need difficult storage. We just keep it out on the kitchen table. The best: it tastes fantastic. What surprises me – or of course it does not really, but it fascinates me or terrifies me at times – is: I have this fantastic rye bread in my Scandinavian tradition…I LOVE IT! But when I look around – very few people know it, cherish it, love it, bake it. In fact most children today have other bread types in their lunch packets, and they do not even like rye bread – not even processed and sweet.

Trine Hahnemann