Bread of the Ana-Damned?

Feb 5, 2014

Given the blustery weather we're enjoying this week, why not some molasses-laden Anadama bread to provide the interior insulation we need? What's more, it turns out that I've been wrong, wrong, wrong all these years about the stuff.

Maybe it's just the name, but for whatever reason, I'd always assumed Anadama bread was some kind of  hippified new age health brick baked off in mud ovens somewhere within the aura of Santa Fe. I couldn't have been wronger — wronger even than that word.

The stuff goes back to mid 19th century Rockport, Massachusetts where it was delivered door to door by guys in blue smocks.

“It’s a wonderful old-fashioned bread made with flour and molasses, and cornmeal," says Nancy Leson who's been making the stuff for 35 years now. “I love it because it’s just a little sweet — actually, it’s a lot sweet, and it makes the world’s best toast.”

Nancy shared the recipe in her Seattle Times column. She likes to use a bit of polenta, or uncooked coarse cornmeal, to add a little texture.

But where did that name come from? I don't believe the explanation, but it does make a good story. 

"There are stories that abound," says Nancy, "but there was a gentleman, if we can call him that, in Massachusetts who was constantly eating this cornmeal-molasses mush that his wife was feeding him. And one day, he’d had enough, he threw the bowl across the room and he said” — you guessed it!

"Whose bread I eat, his song I sing."

--German proverb