My love of bread was inherited from my mom. She loves bread so much that as a kid I called my mom “bread” in Vietnamese: “Banh mi!” It was our snack on the days she could pick me up from school, so I associate bread with the rare joy of spending time with my mom. She held multiple jobs at a time, so I’d see her for very short periods of time — in the morning as she made coffee and in the darkness of night between sleepy eyes when she’d kiss my cheek. My mom was an ESL teacher in the day and a hair stylist in the evenings, then head to night school. She fit in other jobs, rose pruning, floral design, clothing assembly piece work, so that I could have more food than what food stamps afford and so that I could learn more than what school offered. My mom sent me to piano lessons, which I knew were a strain on her not only because of the cost but also because of the time to drive me and to and fro. She never said anything of this effort, though I could see the tiredness in her face. She’d smile through that and would pass me a loaf of bread when she picked me up from lessons. I’d pull the VONS batard out of the white paper bag, tear the end off for my mom, and dig into the fluffy white center. That was our arrangement: she ate the outside and I ate the inside. If there was enough time before her salon client, we’d come home and dip the bread in Maggi with smashed Thai chilies. My mom would have to work before the loaf was finished, but I didn’t want to eat the rest without her. So I’d press my finger tip into the bottom of the bag to pick up the flakes and crumbs at the bottom to have a little more bread without depriving my mom.
This mother’s day weekend I had to decide between spending it with my mom or furthering the cause of healthful bread. Dave Miller asked me to work with him at the Santa Rosa roadshow stop this past weekend, which I resisted because I had made plans with my mom for the weekend. But, it was going to be his first roadshow and he’s doing the subsequent ones alone, so I agreed to join him Saturday morning.
As recompense, Dave brought two loaves of 100% Sonora wheat bread: one with “Mom” and one with “banh mi”. I sped south after market and arrived in San Diego Sunday to share these special loaves with my mom. Now, we get to eat crust and fluff down to the last crumb, together.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, the smartest, wittiest, most talented and resilient person I know. And to all moms!