Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Legends of Anadama Bread

The Legends of Anadama Bread
This yeast bread made with cornmeal and molasses originated on the North Shore of Boston.

The Cape Ann town of Rockport and Gloucester are among those that claim to have invented it.

According to competing popular legends a farmer or a local fisherman grew tired of eating the cornmeal and molasses porridge that his wife incessantly prepared for him.

He dumped flour and yeast into the bowl and threw it in the oven, grumbling, “Anna, damn her!” Others say it was Anna who got so fed up with her husband that she left him returning home, her distraught husband threw random ingredients into her unfinished cornbread, muttering, “Anna, damn her!”

More appreciate versions claim than Anna’s spouse pronounced his defining epithet with pride as he munched thick slices of her tasty bread or that Anna’s tombstone fondly read, “Anna was a lovely bride, but Anna, damn ‘er, up and died.”

The bread is also known as amadama bread allegedly derived from the irate husband who cried, “Where am’er, damn’er?” when his wife was away.

These stories traceable in written for only to the nineteenth century, are repeated by local restaurant and bakeries that serve anadama bread. The bread’s varying legends reveal a simple, home-cooked regional food.

Whether created by a colonial settler who added flavorful indigenous ingredients to an English yeasts bread or by a post Revolutionary housewife, in a community whose cuisine harked back to seventeenth century English cooking anadama bread embodies the fierce local pride and deep English roots of the North Shore of Boston.
The Legends of Anadama Bread