​”What is that?” he asked pressing his finger into my sandwich and leaving a dark indentation in the middle of the upper slice of my mother’s homemade bread, then disappeared in the crowded outdoor 2nd grade lunch area before I had a chance to answer. I was a bashful child, struck a lot by my father, not particularly confident of my self worth. The boy was in my class but I had never spoken to him. Gingerly I ate around the fingerprint, loathing to throw even that away, but could not bring myself to eat the section misshapen by his heavy touch.

My mother was amazing. In the 1950s when no one, apparently, had heard of whole wheat bread, and long before bread machines, she lovingly prepared my lunches and those of my father and my two brothers, including homemade whole wheat bread or pastries daily for years.

I don’t know how to make a loaf of 100% whole wheat bread as fluffy and sliceable as she did. Of course I don’t really want to either. I don’t eat bread anymore except for unleavened, slow-cooked sprout bread, and never sandwiches. But then I’ve always been a diet extremist. I was raised that way.

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