I learned as a kid that if you were walking with someone and you separated (to go around a lamp post, for example) both people had to say “bread and butter.” I don’t know why. I just know you have to–and that it has taken about 36 years for me to teach Paul to do it about 48% of the time. It may be a Midwestern thing because it was my Illinois-raised mom who insisted upon it. I guess it’s the same reason I try not to walk under ladders or step on cracks (you should catch me sometimes lurching around campus like a drunk to avoid a crack–it makes my gait pretty awkward!)
Yesterday I heard a grandmother explaining the same practice to her grandson. It made me happy that people are passing along this custom. I think ritual and fear are the staples of life, and we shouldn’t get rid of all of them–just the ones that hurt and oppress people.
I am making butter for my bread as I type this. It’s ginger peach butter from the Moosewood cookbook. You put a dozen peaches in your
crackpot, (A Freudian slip? Make that crockpot!) purée them, add brown sugar and pieces of ginger and then cook away. I have been sampling as I go–and it tasted good on my bread this morning. Bread and butter.