So I helped the Green Keene Teen friends learn to make bread yesterday. Lucy wants to make bread and jam to sell at Old Home Days. I think that’s a good idea, but I was actually more interested in just giving these girls a chance to make a loaf of bread.

The recipe we used was the simplest I could find: flour, water, yeast, and small amounts of oil, salt and sugar (to start the yeast). I’m new at breadmaking, so it’s an ongoing education for me, too. But I think it’s cool (and important) that the girls had a chance to see the amount of work that goes into making something as basic and universal as a loaf of bread.

We kneaded our dough for 15 minutes. It was hard work. Most grocery-store bread is made by machines, of course. But that’s part of the point. The mass-produced items in our lives can be replaced, but it takes work. On the other hand, Lucy, one of her friends, and I went to the Y to work out earlier in the morning. Making bread was a workout we didn’t have to pay for.

I don’t know how much of the process these girls will remember, or if any of them will actually ever make another loaf of bread. But at least, they’ll have a different appreciation for the next sandwich they eat. And maybe for the uncounted millions of women who spent (and still spend, in places like Chile) part of their days doing exactly the same thing.