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A series of cookbooks: Herbal Breads, Herbal Sweets, Herbal Soups, Herbal Salads

My grandmother made two loaves of white bread every day for her family and went to bed each night knowing that it was all gone, and she’d have to start over in the morning. She had, eventually, eleven children, so a couple of loaves of bread didn’t last long. My mother made bread, too, but not as often. Hers didn’t last either. It was usually oatmeal, and we could smell that bread reaching the baked stage from several rooms away. We’d be on hand when the crusty loaves came out of the oven, teasing to have it cut so we could slather on butter, watch it melt and eat the bread warm.

My mother always resisted, telling us the same thing every time. "It ruins the loaf to cut it when it’s hot." And then she’d give in. At our house, we don’t even pretend to worry about crushing loaves – we just slice it hot and let the butter melt.

Making bread is addictive. The satisfaction is enormous, not only from the actual achievement but from the accolades that envelop you as people bite into hot muffins, beautiful biscuits or a tall loaf of herb bread.

In addition, if it’s a bread made with yeast, you get to knead. People who teach stress management ought to introduce bread-making into their courses. A few 10-minute sessions of pummeling that resistant dough and most tensions have tucked themselves right into that fat elasticity that is going to be bread. No wonder Grandma never missed her breadmaking.

–From the introduction to Herbal Breads