I am almost finished with a novel by author Mia King writing under the name Darien Gee titled 'Friendship Bread'.Â The book has been very entertaining and has several recipes for making the original starter, the basic bread to be made with the starter and several delicious sounding variations in the back pages.
TheÂ storyÂ mixes and kneadsÂ theÂ livesÂ of several people in the small town of Avalon, ILÂ and how receiving a bag of Amish Friendship Bread starter affected each ofÂ them.Â Â Some of the town's people appear just briefly, as a small cameo and others are woven all throughout the book.
The book is keeping me entertained (and up late at night)Â as I keep wanting to know what follows in the life of the regularly appearing characters....the book has 363 pages, not counting the recipes in the back, and after onlyÂ two nights of reading I'm now on page 293!Â
I firstÂ learned aboutÂ Friendship Bread when a fellow member of the garden club gave me a bit of the starter many years ago when I was living in South Carolina and had a family of six to feed...so it was easy to keep the batter going and going and going....and baking and baking and baking....Bundt cakes, sweet bread loafs, muffins & cupcakes in many combinations of ingredients used to tumble out of my oven fairly often in those days.
After leaving South Carolina for Florida and laterÂ moving toÂ Hawai'i, I had forgotten all about Friendship Bread until someone (gee, thanks, Susan!)Â gave me a bag of the starter when we had the Inn.Â We served quite a few chocolate & macadamia muffins and slices of sweet banana bread to our B&B guests until one day one of theÂ 2 starter bags I had nesting in aÂ big crockery bowl exploded in my kitchen (gee, thanks, Susan!) leaving trails and spatters of messy, yeasty smelling goo all over the place.
Photo: Banana macnut bread
The scary part is that I did a Google on Amish Friendship Bread a little while ago to learn a bit of background and seeÂ what other variations for the bread existed in the nether regions of the Internet with the idea of writing one of my monthly columns for a local newspaper on Friendship Bread closer to the Holidays (yes, I doÂ research ideas for articles even that far ahead).....well.... imagine my surprise when I came into Gather this morning to approve a photo that had been submitted to my Gather group Food...Glorious Food! and what do I find on the right hand side of the Gather pages but a sidebar with the following:
Seems like even your searches for anything on the Internet will appear on Gather pages.....!Â Scary, eh?!
Anyway, this book has revived an interest in this actually delicious bread and am seriously consideringÂ mixing my own starter and bake my way through the rest of the year.....
If you live anywhere on the Big Island of Hawai'i I ask that you pleaseÂ not run the other way if you see me coming at you with clear plastic ziplock bags full of goo!!!!
Accept it with much aloha.........after all.....that is why it's called Friendship Bread!