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William Harris

Presentation - BreadMatters I, Lublin, Poland


A Baker's First Experience

Some dozen or so years ago, before I converted to being a baker, I was in Portugal taking a short break, meeting with friends.

We had spent a long and enjoyable evening, eating well and drinking in moderation as only the Portuguese can. My command of their language is not complete, I can understand most of what is said, I can even speak a few sentences and can generally get by if I am by myself in that country. But my friends felt that there was something missing in my Portuguese tongue and had a determination to help me.

In short, I couldn't swear in Portuguese, I don't know the names of the rude bits and as such could truly enjoy the jokes which accompanied the food and drink as someone always had to translate the "naughty bits".

At 2.00am, early by Portuguese standards, it was resolved that a lesson was needed. We couldn't do this in the house as we would wake the family with the continual repetitions needed to perfect pronunciation, so we took ourselves off to the village bakery.

The bakery, owned by a friend of my friend, was the ideal location for this lesson in basic Portuguese. To start with it was warm, had the enticing smell of yeast, dough and baking, we could get a head start on breakfast as we were bound to get hungry with our verbal exertions.

João explained the purpose of our mission to the bakers, wine was found and the first baked bread rolls were produced with a generous wedge of butter. We embarked upon a glorious couple of hours of total out and out anarchic humour with João pointing out the rude bits and me repeating them until my pronunciation met his and the bakers approval.

I think it was then that I decided to become a baker.

©   William Harris, July 2000


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