Spanish Bread

Sometimes I’m “enlisted” to buy the lunchtime bread at the local panadería and I do it more than willingly. There’s almost nothing better than walking into that bread bakery, waiting in line, and ordering a barra de bandeja and they give it to you with a smile, charge you 60 or 65 centimos, and it’s still hot from the oven. There’s something so basic about the whole process, the whole custom. It smells SO good in this moment that I can’t help but raise it to my nose while I transport it in its paper bread bag to the lunch table. I’m usually the one who’s “in charge” of cutting the bread but when I do so, since the bread is still hot and moist, it crushes under the weight of the cutting knife. What a wonderful smell it emits.

Here in my neighborhood, if I happen to awake at 4am for whatever reason, from a bad dream or a need to go to the bathroom, I often smell the baking bread at the bakery on my same block. No matter if it’s summer or winter I must open the window of the kitchen or balcony and take several deep breaths of that wonderful smell. It’s better than perfume, better than springtime flowers, and better than the smell of that special someone’s hair after a shower. Fresh baked bread is the best perfume there is.

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