Weekend Cooking: Friendship Bread

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs…

A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers brought in “Hermann” to share with all of us who work in our team.  He came with detailed instructions, and while it was a nice gesture, I didn’t think much about it as I placed him next to my desk, in his recycled Bonne Maman jam jar.  After about an hour, though, I started to hear something.  A scratching sound.  Was it a mouse?  I looked around, under my desk, trying to find the source of the noise. Then I realized that it was Hermann.  He was trying to escape from his jar, bubbling up and under the tightly closed lid, dripping down the sides of the jar…he was ALIVE!

Hermann is the French equivalent of Amish friendship bread starter, and he has since become a part of our family, our pet, as it were.  Every morning the girls go to check on him, stirring and adding ingredients as per the day’s instructions.  We’ve cooked him once, so technically the one we have now is Hermann, Jr. The first time I wasn’t crazy about the recipe I used, so I’ve since been looking around for other ideas.  As I was checking out different search results, I came across this book:

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

Goodreads summary:

An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated.
One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it.Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others. 

Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.  

When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.

In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister.

About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.

I love it when I stumble across a book I’ve never heard of before and that draws me in right away, either by the cover or the description or both.  I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for this one!  And I’m still trying to find the perfect friendship bread recipe, so if you’ve made it before and have a good one to share, I would appreciate it!


13 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: Friendship Bread

  1. Marg

    Had to laugh at your description of Herman being alive.

    I am not sure I understand how friendship bread works, but I did look at reading this book when it first came out. I might still do so.

    Probably should go and finish writing my own weekend cooking post really!

  2. jama

    Thanks for sharing this. Looks like an interesting book. I love the idea of a friendship bread that keeps getting passed on in a neverending ring of fellowship and cheer. 🙂

  3. Rikki

    I have never had or used a starter, but heard about them. I was laughing about Hermann being alive, so funny! In a way, he is, isn’t he?

    The books sounds interesting and I like the cover. Will look into that one.

  4. Christine

    I’m familiar with friendship bread, although no one has ever passed me any starter! I’ve read a few nice reviews for that book, but haven’t read it myself. Hope you enjoy it!

  5. joyweesemoll

    I had Hermann around for awhile, in my twenties. But I was too young and irresponsible for a pet!

    More recently, I successfully kept sourdough for several years, after receiving starter from a friend, and that was fun!

    This book sounds like a great accompaniment to Hermann or any bread starter received from a friend.

  6. Beth F

    Oh gosh, Hermann shows up from time to time. These days I go running because I’ve run out ways to bake with him. The books sounds like something I’d like.

  7. Pingback: Sunday Salon: March Wrap-Up | Too Fond

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