Delia Smith , in her Complete Cookery Course quotes Elizabeth David on yeast:
'In Chausers England one of the names for yeast or barm was goddisgoode 'bicause it cometh of the grete grace of God'. These words simply imply a blessing. To me that is just what it is. It is also mysterious, magical. No matter how familiar its action may become nor how successful the attempts to explain it in terms of chemistry and to manufacture it by the ton, yeast still to a certain extent retains its mystery'
When I read those words my first thoughts were 'not unlike God really', who also retains some mystery no matter how far we go to try to explain and understand Him. I enjoy working with yeast and making bread and I wish I did it more often. During Lent and Easter I especially find myself thinking about baking bread, it is so symbolic of this time of year; the mystery , the hidden leaven that changes everything, the bread that represents His body , the bread of life. I am sure it is for all these reasons that many cultures make special bread at Easter time.
Today we made Pretzels, which are associated with lent because of the shape. They look like hands folded in prayer. The story of their origin has several versions , apparently they were first made by monks from scraps left over from the monastery bread and given to children as reward for saying their prayers and to the poor and hungry who visited the monastery. The shape reminds us of one of the purposes of Lent -faithfulness in prayer. And they taste good when sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.