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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Write With Me: The Day of Waters and Pablo Neruda

Calling All Bakers! *

In an effort to bring you continued Bread Tales I give you the story of - Spanish Chastity Bread. And a poem by the inestimable romantic Pablo Neruda.

In the days of lent no bread or ladies of the evening could be enjoyed. 


At the period of Lent ended the woman who were so deemed were not allowed to return to the town via the bridge lest anyone of good repute should come face to face with them. So it was on the day of the waters, the Monday after Easter when either students or the officials responsible for prostitution, who were called the padre putas (whore’s priest)  would take a boat, laden with flowers to bring back the good women of the night. And to this day people often take a day by the river to enjoy hornazos, bread pies filled with pork, ham, paprika, sausage, and hard-cooked eggs. 

*I am having a communal "baking day!" at C'est si Bon! in Chapel Hill. There will be limited spaces for this. If you would like to join the group to make this recipe - let me know! Leave a comment below with your email address. I will send you more information and post the experience, along with photos on The Day of Waters, April 9. it will be great fun!!! 

This Pablo Neruda poem needs no further embellishment, as it speaks to the seductiveness of bread.

"The Light That Climbs From Your Feet to Your Hair"

The light that climbs from your feet to your hair,

the mantle enveloping your delicate form,
are not sea’s nacre, or frozen silver:
you are bread, bread, dear to the fire.

The grain built its silo around you, and rose,
increased by a golden age,
while its wheaten surge recreated your breasts,
my love was an ember labouring in earth.

Oh, bread of your forehead, your legs, and your mouth,
bread I consume, born each day with the light,
dear one, the bake-houses’ banner and sign:

the fire taught your blood its lessons,
you learnt sacredness from grain,
and your language, your perfume are bread.

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