I don't like chain letters. I'm not sure I know anyone who really does, but somehow, they continue to get passed around. I've been asked to give recipes, dollar bills, dishcloths, children's books, stickers, drugs--have I gone too far? I swear I've been given every chain letter around. And I really do hate them. But the funny thing is, because I can't help but feel guilt in every situation, I sometimes actually consider participating, just so person #3, who I don't know, will get her dishcloths. But in time, my guilt fades, and I ultimately break the chain. That precious, precious chain.
Recently I was given a bag full of mush called Amish Friendship bread. Oh, you've seen it. It is a chain letter in food form. See, because the Amish friendship bread is SO secretive, and only the Amish know how to make it, you can never make the bread again unless some kind friend gives you the starter.
My cute neighbor, who I love dearly, and who makes all kinds of yummy desserts, left me the mush on my doorstep. It really looked like it belonged in a trash can--where I put the last bag of mush someone gave me (and where anyone might logically put any kind of bag of mush they came in contact with). But I left it on my countertop (guilt). The instructions were to mush the bag most days and then on day six you add something and then mush again, and then finally, ten days later you make the bread. So, I mushed it a few days (which gave me the willies), and each time considered throwing it away. Jed insisted it was yummy bread, and we'd come so far--I'd mushed so many times! So there it sat on my countertop, aging, bubbling, begging to be mushed. Finally the day arrived to make the bread. I was supposed to add some stuff and make new starter mushes for my best friends. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't think of a single person who might want my bag of beige goo. I had dreams of my friends running away from me while shouting, "What did I ever do to you?" In the end, my mathematical sister figured out how to make the bread without making starters. Leave it to Katie.
I made the bread. It was really quite good, and my family liked it a lot. But I couldn't eat it. Every time I'd take a bite, I'd remember that nasty, fermenting bag of milk, sugar and flour and whatever other secretive things were in it, and my stomach swore in its wrath to never let me rest again if I continued with the bite. So I fed it to my family, who, after it was gone, wanted more. And me without a starter.
As it turns out, the recipe is not so secretive after all. Just as Jed suspected, Google found it with two clicks. So mush away. But don't you dare bring me a starter--I want the baked loaf.