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Friendship/Enemy Bread

Published April 14. 2012 09:01AM

A few weeks ago my sister Diane provided dessert for Sunday dinner at Mom's.

"Mmmm. This is good!" I told her as I bit into a little slice of heaven. "What is it?"

"Amish Friendship Bread," she replied.

"Mmmm, A fghugh hmw gmht tt wezz!" I said around another mouthful. (Translation: Mmmm, I forgot how good it was!)

It's been quite a while since I last had any Amish Friendship Bread so stupid me, when Diane asked me if I wanted my own starter bag, all I could think of at the time was, "Yay! I can have my very own loaf of this delicious and decadent dessert all to myself instead of only this one slice so I don't look like a little piggy in front of everybody."

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Amish Friendship Bread. No? You have a taste, somebody suckers you into taking a starter bag and then you make copious amounts of the stuff and when your family and friends see you coming with your starter bags, they run in the opposite direction!

I asked some of my friends what their experience has been with Amish Friendship Bread.

Connie says, "The only thing I can remember about it is that I got so tired of moving the bag so that it wasn't in my way that I ended up throwing it out. I know that makes me sound very wasteful but ..."

Carol said that the family she works for have been on a Friendship Bread baking spree. "Today the family said 'Enough!!!!!' and I was told to make some brownies instead."

"That stuff is really stinky. And nothing helps my cooking, not even Friendship Bread," said Terri.

Renee's co-worker, Sharon, said that she was given a Friendship Cake/Bread starter from a neighbor when she lived in Germany, along with a recipe. "She still has the recipe but the catch is, it's written in German. The rest of us think it's delicious, but it's a pain in the butt," said Renee.

Diane's second starter bag took on a life of its own, fell off the kitchen island, blew up, leaving a horrible mess. Even the dog wouldn't lick it up!

No one really knows for sure where the whole Amish Friendship Bread thing began. But the Amish have stopped claiming it as their own.

Here's what I think ...

In a land far away, a maniacal baker who hated women had a plan to drive women nuts so there wouldn't be any competition with his business. His evil plan was disguised as a scrumptious tasting dessert that if a woman wanted to recreate it, she had to follow a 10-day regimen. When the 10th day arrived, she had to add more ingredients which ended up making enough for two loaves of her own bread and four starter batters. He presented it to a poor unsuspecting bored housewife, (let's call her Ethel) who had just moved into the village and didn't have any friends. He hyped it up as a great way to not only give her family a delicious treat but if she gave the four starter batters to some other bored housewives in the village, she could make new and everlasting friendships. He called it Friendship Bread.

On the 10th day, Ethel baked her Friendship Bread, bagged up her four starter batters and skipped into the village. She knocked on the first door, introduced herself and said she was new to the village and wanted to get to know her neighbors. She gave the first lady, Mabel, a slice of her delicious Friendship Bread. When Mabel went over the moon after tasting it, she asked her how she made it. Ethel gave Mabel her very own starter batter with the instructions. She and Mabel sat there for another hour chit-chatting and when Ethel left, she knew she had made her first friend. She then skipped her way to the next house and when Tilly tasted Ethel's Friendship Bread and said she just had to have the recipe, Ethel gave Tilly her own starter batter. And so this went on at Alma's house and then Stella's. By the time Ethel arrived back home, she was feeling good about making four new friends.

Over the next 10 days, Ethel, Mabel, Tilly, Alma and Stella met often for coffee, cementing their friendships. The ladies couldn't wait until they could make their very own Friendship Bread.

On the 10th day, they each had four starter bags and passed them on to their eager friends they had introduced Friendship Bread to at PTO, Women's Club, Lioness and the church social hour. And 10 days later, those friends passed on their starter batters to four of their friends, and so on and so on.

One day, as Ethel knocked on her friend Mabel's door, she heard a scuffling noise inside but no one came to the door. She went to Tilly's house and the same thing happened. It was the same at Alma's and Stella's. Not understanding why her friends wouldn't come to their doors, she went home perplexed. When she arrived, she stared in amazement. There in front of her door were dozens and dozens of starter batters!

From that day on, each morning there were dozens of starter batters on her doorstep. Her friends refused to acknowledge her when she came into the village. Her children were shunned at school and her husband lost his job because his employer's wife refused to cook or bake ever again until he got rid of Ethel's husband.

With no income, no friends, Ethel and her family were forced to leave the village, never to return again.

But stupid Ethel could not resist taking with her one Friendship Bread starter batter because the bread was just so delicious!

And the diabolical baker, Buddy, smiled because his evil plan was working. Soon the world would be filled with women gone insane and everyone would have to come to him in Hoboken, New Jersey for dessert.

Now that you know the whole story, could I interest you in a starter bag of Enemy Bread?

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