Sunday, November 29, 2009
Padre Pio Prayer Bread
This note from a reader caused Sister St. Aloysius and I to laugh ourselves silly. We generally don't have a laugh over things involving the saints. Technically, we weren't doing that. We were having a laugh about "Amish Friendship Bread", which actually should be called "Amish I Wouldn't Wish This on My Worst Enemy Bread".
Have any of you ever had this stuff? The "Amish Friendship Bread" experience? Because it's not just bread. The bread is actually very delicious. Too delicious. The bread isn't the thing. The "friendship" is the thing.
It starts with an overly enthusiastic "friend" who thinks giving you the stuff is just the most lovely gesture on the planet.
I don't see how. It's more like a gypsy curse.
You don't just get the bread. You get the privilege of the bread and a bowl of goo. The bowl of goo is active with yeast or something. It's "alive". You have to tend it, adding something to it and stirring it, once a day every day for something like nine days, time that could be better spent on a novena not involving a bowl of goo. The bowl of goo is like "The Blob". It grows.
Then it makes something like 4 loaves of this delicious bread. It's so rich that you really only need to eat a slice a month, unless you throw a lot of tea parties.
This is where the "friendship" part comes in. You have to give away the other 3 loaves. You really do have to. It's that, or throw it out. You can't possible eat it all.
And the piece de resistance: you have more goo left over. It has multiplied! and you have to give that away too.
It's a chain letter of bread.
It's a nightmare.
When we got ours, we didn't know. Sister St. Aloysius was delighted with the concept and tended the goo faithfully for a few days. Her enthusiasm began to wane around the time she started to forget about tending it. Suddenly, she'd get this startled haunted look, late in the evening and whisper, "the batter!"
"Batter?" I'm thinking. "Did I leave some kid on the playground?"
We enjoyed the bread. But when it came time to pass on the "love" it was a lot like this song "The Thing".
Everyone on our block was already hip to "Amish Friendship Bread" and said, "Get out of here with that ___ _____ ____, and don't come back no more!"
And the whole thing just keeps multiplying! It's a horror movie of bread.
and now this:
One of my friends gave me prayer bread..er...a bowl of goo to add ingredients to, stir, and prayer over once a day for 10 or so days. This lady is a sweetheart, but I just got the directions today (it's day 5 and I am only half way through!) and see that I am to add stuff to it so I can give 4 other friends a bowl of goo to do the same process.
I really don't want to do it. In fact, I want to toss it in the trash and never look back. I love to bake, but this recipe doesn't strike me as being a delicious bread. It's The Blessed Bread of Padre Pio. I've had Amish friendship bread and it is WONDERFUL! This one has sugar, eggs, flour, cooking oil, and baking powder. It's probably tasty, but the Amish bread is a little like cinnamon roll heaven!
I feel bad for complaining, I just don't want to do it which makes me feel worse. In addition, I have so much to do that this is really not on my list of priorities and I might forget about it. What happens if I miss a step? Better yet, what happens if she finds out I didn't make it?
I feel like I have to just suck it up and make it since I don't want to hurt her feelings, but there is no way I would pass this on to my other busy mom friends who would probably feel the same way I do now. Advice?
My advice is to follow your heart. Chuck it in the trash. It may be tempting to lie to your friend about why you didn't make it by telling her the cat licked it or something like that. While the real reason you don't want to lie is that it is a sin, the fact is that if you tell her the cat licked it, she'll jump at the chance to give you a new batch.
Try not to judge her. It's the best thing that can happen to her, to give you a new batch, because she has a lot of goo to get rid of every couple of weeks and this way she won't have to go looking for new marks.
Just tell her you failed to tend it and it died. Tell her it happened quickly because you failed right away to tend it because you have such a busy schedule. And don't tell her you "forgot" to tend it. That would be a lie, too. If she tries to foist more on you, tell her you don't like to go around murdering batter.
There is a more important issue, however, that must be addressed. There is no such thing as Padre Pio Prayer Bread. It comes with a note that says it is Vatican approved. I can tell you something else the note says that proves that the bread has nothing whatsoever to do with Padre Pio or the Vatican. The note says that if you pray each day while tending the goo, you and your family will have good luck.
There is no such thing as luck in the teachings of the Catholic Church. "Luck" is a superstition and this chain letter of bread is exactly that. It might be a good idea to let your friend the Gyspy in on that fact as well.