Breath of Life, Bread of Life

There is a Kundalini yoga meditation mantra I like a lot, which goes like this: Ong Namu, Guru Dev Namo. I believe it means: “I bow before my highest consciousness.”

Alas, it’s been years since I have had a regular yoga practice (and it was Vinyassa at that) but I have a New Age album (Grace, by Snatum Kaur) of Kundalini mantras — set to music and sung along with their (too liberally perhaps?) translations — on my iTunes playlist that I play a lot. Would it be an oxymoron to say that listening to these songs gives me a jolt of serenity? It helps immediately to create a grounding, grateful, peaceful sensation in my entire being – even if sirens are blaring and cars are beeping or if I’m feeling dejected or crummy for one reason or another. May the Long time Sun (traditionally played at the end of Kundalini yoga sessions) is one of my favorites, it gives me goosebumps and sometimes makes me cry (in a good way) and I hope it’s not disrespectful, but I love to cardio to Hari Har – the music and tempo the mantra is set to just makes me want to MOVE! As for Ong Namu, I’ve listened to it nearly a thousand times according to my iTunes tally, and I know what it means, but I often mishear the “Breath of Life, I Bow to You” chant, as: “Bread of Life, I Bow to You.”

But … then again, bread is the staff of life. A great advantage of breathing, indeed one may say, is that it signals the ability to eat bread.

Isn’t this loaf of bread beautiful? It is the handiwork of my brother-in-law. (Speaking of my shohar-khahar, he says that the best thing about marrying into an Iranian family is the tadig! I’m not sure if he’s entirely joking, and I think he’s forgetting something very important, he’s forgetting the polo khoresh!) There are many good things I can say about my brother-in-law. For one, he displayed exceptionally good taste in marrying my beautiful sister – and together they make very good and beautiful things. For another, he’s an exceedingly good-humored fellow. I immensely admire him for this quality – one that I covet and hope to cultivate myself. For one other, he really knows his way around pancakes, popovers, tarts, and even crêpes; and when humming along in the kitchen, he is one of those people who just visibly enjoys and exudes his relish of cooking. It is fun to watch and to be around. I’ve been treated to some very delicious fare at my sis and brother-in-law’s – both are gracious hosts and good and creative cooks – and vividly recall the occasion when my bro-in-law made this no-knead bread for a family brunch. It was served with olive oil (I ate it with butter though instead, I’m pedestrian that way,) whipped honey, and also with this type of egg:

I don’t know about the quail eggs … hmmm … but the bread … it was: delicious! Warm! Soft at just the right places! Crusty where it mattered! And the perfect vessel to combine butter (or olive oil for those who care for that) and honey and taste buds!

No-Knead Bread is a creation of Jim Lahey of the New York City Sullivan Street Bakery, and it is a much-praised and very popular recipe. No wonder! It lives up to the hype. If you want to make a loaf of your own, look no further than the original no-knead bread recipe (or check out the slightly adapted recipe as featured in the New York Times.)

Meanwhile: Have a lovely weekend! May you break bread with those you love, and:

“May the longtime sun

shine upon you

all love surround you

and the pure light

within you

guide your way home”

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Comments (24)

  • The Novice Gardener 8 years ago Reply

    First I got hungry (at the beautiful bread), the I got sleepy (at the relaxing mantra). It’s as if I’ve eaten and now with my tummy full, I need a nap! Nah, not really, I’m still hungry and will probably be searching for bread, but I’ll take the nap anytime. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Ah, a nap! Sounds better than food to me right now, so me too! I have the best dreams when I nap actually, so don’t know about that whole REM thing. Meanwhile, back to the topic: thank you for visiting and commenting! 🙂

  • Amanda 8 years ago Reply

    This is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your beautiful philosophy and blessings. That is a beautiful bread. Great post.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    I love hearing that, thank you Amanda!

  • yvonne rafi 8 years ago Reply

    I clicked on the link for the original no-knead recipe and it looked rather scary, nothing like your light, lovely version. Is mine going to look like yours, or his? Awaiting reply, before not so bravely venturing forth. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Yvonne joon, my brother in law informs me that he followed recipe to the letter. You know, try this link: you may find it more reassuring. DO do do let me know who it turns out. xoxo

  • johnnysenough hepburn 8 years ago Reply

    Wonderfully written as always. Must have a look at the links. As I suspect this might be a yeast bread, something I really must try. I’ve so many baking ingredients right now I had to reorganise my kitchen space! Everything but yeast.
    – You? Pedestrian? Just ‘cos you like butter? Okay, I’d prefer the olive oil. And I shouldn’t admit that I still haven’t tried quails eggs.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Yup, it does have yeast! I thought the topic might appeal to you given the flurry and fury of baking you’ve been doing recently. You know what would be a fun photo to share with us? Your organized cupboard, I’d love to see a behind the scenes peek. Re quail eggs: not speaking for others but I was not a fan so in my opinion you haven’t missed much. Meanwhile, I probably shouldn’t admit that I still have not tried truffles! Also: thank you for protesting with me against the pedestrian label, ha ha! 🙂

  • Francesca 8 years ago Reply

    This bread is spectacular, Azita! I love bread. Maybe my favorite food. I would eat pounds and pounds of it every day. With nothing. Just bread!!!
    Sounds like you have an amazing relationship with your brother-in-law. Good for you!!! That is the kind of blessing to be thankful for very very soon, my dear friend.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    F. Xx

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Me too, I could easily live on good bread with butter and cheese, and a nice drink. Maybe a glass of vino even? I should ask Stefano for a good pairing suggestion ! 😉

  • Gather and Graze 8 years ago Reply

    A beautiful loaf of bread indeed! Have a wonderful weekend too, Azita! 🙂

  • Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Thank you & you too!! 🙂

  • apuginthekitchen 8 years ago Reply

    Wow, does that bread look incredibly good! I love homemade bread, it’s one of my favorite pleasures, warm from the oven with good salted butter. YUM!! Your BIL is one talented baker.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Can you believe this was also the first time he made this type of bread? It did come out beautifully. Me too, love bread and butter! yum

  • mycookinglifebypatty 8 years ago Reply

    Is it fair to say you and the bread make beautiful music together?

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    That would be more than fair to me and what a beautiful way of putting it. you are such a clever wordsmith Patty! 🙂

  • laurasmess 8 years ago Reply

    What beautiful bread. But not as beautiful as the words you craft Azita… your posts are always so absorbing, beautifully written and poetic. I’ve gotta make me some no-knead bread! xx

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 8 years ago Reply

    – Beautiful story, especially incorporating lovely comments about your brother-in-law (Felfeli’s daddy? Where is Felfeli?).
    This brings me again to, I need to learn how to bake bread. Johnny is baking one after another and It make me so intimidated as well as wanting to learn it more. One of these days.
    – As for quail eggs, they do have their distinctive taste. They are used in Japanese cooking/decorating quite often.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    well, I’d love to see what you would do with quail eggs!

  • That bread sounds perfect and soft, something I could definitely enjoy with my family. I’ve never had quail eggs so thanks for sparking my interest in them. Have a great day. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Thank you Pamela! I heartily recommend the bread. The quail egg may be worth a try just for the novelty. 🙂

  • Liz 8 years ago Reply

    Lovely and fresh loaf of bread and I love it that it’s no-knead. You are lucky to have a bro-in-law who can cook. rare quality. I have never had quail eggs too and I prefer my bread with butter too. Thanks for sharing!

  • adelaidefoodies 8 years ago Reply

    Using quail egg is usual but the bread does look very yummy! Want to eat now. Sooo hungry 😛

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