Eleven days ago, one of our editors came to my office with a gallon-sized baggie of goo. He is not terribly social, but always polite and respectful, so I was touched that he thought of me when he was passing out goo.
As it turns out, the goo in question was bread starter - for Amish Friendship Bread. I'd never made bread from a starter before, so I was grateful for the instructions that he handed over along with the baggie.
They go something like this:
Day 1 - Do nothing
Day 2 - Mush the bag
Day 3 - Mush the bag
Day 4 - Mush the bag
Day 5 - Mush the bag
Day 6 - Add to the bag: flour, sugar, milk - mush the bag
Day 7 - Mush the bag
Day 8 - Mush the bag
Day 9 - Mush the bag
Day 10 - Follow the instructions below.
Day ten is when you add to the starter, make more starter, then use what's left to make bread. You make four additional starters to share (keep 1 if you want to continue baking this bread). Because only the Amish know how to make this particular starter, if you give them all away, you have to wait for one to come back to you eventually.
It occurred to me somewhere around day 7, that this bread is aptly named.
Friendships are like bread starters. Some days you do nothing, and the friendship remains. Some days, you need to put in some minimal effort to keep it going. And every now and then, you need to put out some real attention if you want to keep the friendship alive.
The same goes for sharing out your newly created starters. When you choose who you want to give it to, you need to choose people with the commitment to do what's necesary to result in bread - or the starter is wasted. If you try to be friends with people who aren't interested, it's a waste of your energy - which could be better used elsewhere.
And the bread? Very sweet - and well worth the effort.