Andrew W.K. on Bread | VICE
There’s a classic country song called “Please Pass the Biscuits,” made famous by Jimmy Dean, in which a young boy seated around a huge family dinner table laments about the struggle to get a biscuit from the bread basket going ’round. He makes it clear to the listener that he has every other food item on his plate, and is ready to eat, but can’t begin to think about enjoying his meal until he gets a piece of bread. He almost cries out in desperation as each person around the table takes a biscuit, or even two, while he hasn’t even had one. Towards the end of one of the verses he puts it plainly, “I just can’t eat without bread.” The background singers join together to restate his dilemma at the song’s conclusion: “There’s something the matter/ No bread on the platter/ And he just can’t eat without bread.”
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved bread. It was a fundamental piece—or slice—of daily life. Eating it when I was hungry was second nature. It seemed so obvious, like drinking water when thirsty, or going to bed when tired.
I ate bread in many different forms. I regularly consumed as much pizza as I could, always eating the crusts, sometimes even saving them for last, savoring their pure unadulterated bready goodness. The toppings were basically like icing on a cake—just an extra ornamental flourish to pay tribute to the regal bread base beneath that made the whole meal worthwhile.
Bread was one of mankind’s earliest forms of prepared food. In a very real way, it was an early form of alchemy—taking these crude plant materials and transforming them into something valuable and nourishing. Going back to the early days of civilization, bread was very much like gold, but even more crucial—mankind could survive without gold, but not nourishment. It’s no coincidence that we sometimes use the word “bread” for “money.” It’s like the currency of life. It is symbolic of sustenance, of body and spirit—the Biblical Daily Bread.