Monday, December 7, 2009

The Gift That Keeps on Giving...and Giving and...

As the holidays bear down upon us, my thoughts turn, as they so often do, to things I never, ever want to receive again.

This list is, as you can imagine, quite long by now. I've been on the planet a few decades and I've gotten a lot of crap I never need to see again. A bouffant-sized shower cap (I have fine hair and wash it every day, and I've never in my life worn it up in a bouffant), a sea otter ashtray (I do not now, nor as an asthmatic have I ever or will I ever, smoke), overpowering-smelling shower gel (I'm also scent allergic and I also don't like to smell like an old-fashioned whorehouse), and so on. But the worst gift ever was the so-called gift of Amish Friendship Bread.

For those few who have somehow managed to avoid this exercise in bacteria, the Amish Friendship Bread has supposedly been around for centuries. The way it works is that a "friend" gives you a plastic cup half filled with some semi-viscous substance that through the magic of yeast and some Amish black magic (trust me on this one) doubles in size overnight.

The idea is that you divide the "half cup" you get and give your "extra" off to a friend. And the thing that makes this a quaint and special gift is that, supposedly, you still have some molecules of the original Friendship Bread from however many centuries ago, when the first Amish housewife decided to get back at everyone she knew in a really nasty and yet totally Christian way.

This is a great plan in theory. The bread is, despite or perhaps because of the centuries of bacteria and God alone knows what else in it, quite delicious. It makes a hefty loaf, too.

Which is awesome for Octomom and those horrible Gosselin people (who, let's be honest, might not actually have friends to obtain Friendship Bread from...but I digress...) and anyone else who has an army to feed on a nightly basis. But for those of us with smaller families, baking a huge loaf of bread a day gets a little ridiculous.

Yes, you have to bake a loaf a day. Or you end up with far more than just one "extra" bread-ick-in-a-cup to hand out. You end up with tons. Because that stuff really does double in size overnight. Each portion doubles overnight. Every night.

Oh sure, at first it sounds great. Home-baked bread, a gift out of nowhere for your friends, what's not to like? But it never ends. First you take it into work, but by the 3rd day, everyone at work has some and is trying to pass it back to everyone else. Then you start getting to know your neighbors. Then your entire zip code. Then your entire state. No matter who you are, no one, not even Oprah, can get rid of all the Friendship Bread one single half-cup can create in less than two weeks. It takes on a life of its own. You spend all your time trying to give the Friendship Bread away. The homeless are too smart to take it, and after two or three weeks, everyone else in the world shuns you. It's evil, pure and simple.

My BBFF got some Friendship Bread a couple of weeks ago. She loves to cook (I know, what am I doing with a BBFF like that?) and was all excited about it. I merely laughed, probably the same low, evil laugh that original Amish housewife gave when she handed off the first set of this stuff. Because I knew what was going to happen, despite my BBFF's protests that she would keep it going forever.

Needless to say, when she was talking me today about her Christmas baking, the Amish bread didn't come up. When I asked about it, she said, "Oh, I said screw it and threw that crap away. It's a pain in the ass." I was the bigger person and only said, "I told you so," a few times.

Of course, the issue with something that keeps on doubling is that you can toss it into the garbage, but it's STILL going to double. So, when the Christmas Blob comes down the chimney, you'll know who to thank.

Not me, of course. But if you're looking for a bouffant-sized shower cap, drop me a line and you could find it under the tree. Nestled there right next to your Amish Friendship Bread Starter Set that you got from "Santa".



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