Broken Bread


with Laura Porter

Broken Bread

March 2020

A proposition by Katia Porro after an invitation from Eterh

Dear Laura,

I’ve been thinking about bread, mostly because it’s everywhere. These glutenous blobs of wheat scattered across the city, piles of forgotten crumbs, broken bread. This object, or sustenance, that has so much symbolical meaning, abandoned in the street. I have a weird relationship with bread. Growing up in the states, carbohydrates were evil. I think you can relate. Bread is for the sinner. It is the glutenous devil. It is painted as this fearmonger in the land of the gluten free. I feel sorry for it. I empathize with it. It’s not that bad, after all. Here in France, it is the opposite of that. It is a sacred staple of the everyday. But at the same time, there is so much of it pouring out of bakeries that it often ends up abandoned in the street. A glutenous surplus spoiled.
Surplus makes me think of decadence, gluttony. Of exaggeration, of getting dressed up, of things-being-what-they-are-not. Like bread, which serves as a metaphor for so much: money, flesh, life itself. It takes on different roles, sheds skins, transforms into various characters. Have you ever walked passed one of those chain bakeries La Mie Câline? They diffuse odors of freshly baked bread into the streets to lure people (tourists) into their shops. Artificial bread smells. Olfactory marketing. The idea of bread and artifice is funny. Why take something so pure and simple – water, wheat – and make it fake? It’s like a campy bread all dressed up, drowned in perfume and when you take a bite you are utterly horrified and deeply disappointed. It’s tasteless, in both senses of the term.
My favorite bread metaphor is that of bread-as-currency. Bread-as-body makes me cringe. Transubstantiation makes me think of cannibalism. So let’s stick to money. Bread, dough. I mostly like considering bread as part of a transaction, a social transaction, a form of currency that we share. Breaking bread. Broken bread.
So yeah, I’ve been thinking about bread, mostly because it’s everywhere. And I’ve also been thinking about money, mostly because it escapes me. And I am having trouble separating them one from another in my head.
Do you think about bread, too? About transactions? About money? Maybe we can have dinner soon to talk about it. To break bread.

Big hugs,