The Cake is a Pie

Dawn of the bread

Enrique Bonilla Morales

Here I am, the last man standing. All Humans but me have disappeared. My family and friends died weeks ago, and its memory is all that remains. By dawn I will die too: the armies of Mordor are coming, Rivers will be attacking from space, and Mothra is no longer here to save me. What can I do? There is no point in fighting back, and my efforts on preserving traces of human civilization will be in vain. So, my final decision is to go and enjoy my last few hours.

I’ll do one of the things I love most: eat bread. But not any bread, Mexican sweet bread. Perhaps it is nostalgia, or that I was raised delighting Mexican cuisine, but Mexican bread has a special place in my heart! I’ve traveled all around the world, I’ve seen beautiful places and tasted exotic flavours fit for a king, but I never found something so pleasant as an evening bread with a cup of coffee. Those long evenings I spent with my loved ones appreciating life before darkness fell upon Earth. Mexican sweet bread represents all that is good and right on Earth, so I must say goodbye to my long time ally. There is no better ending for the story of humanity.

But the question is, which pieces of bread would be my last? After a few minutes of thought, I’ve taken a decision. I’ll eat my 5 favourite pieces of all time. These pieces of bread might not be sophisticated, or even the most delicious according to many, but they are my favourite. I believe they carry the essence of how true bread should be made.

1) Mantecada

I know this bread since my early childhood, it was one of my brother’s favourites. A mantecada is perfect for dipping in coffee: its texture and smoothness accomplishes coffee absorption in such an unimaginable way. Furthermore, its toasted exterior, along with its fluffy interior produces a multifaceted experience in your mouth.

2) Piedra

Known to many as the Frankenstein of bread, this specimen creates gastronomical heavens out of disdain. A piedra or Spanish for “Stone” is elaborated with pieces of bread that no one wanted to eat the previous day. But don’t fool yourself just because it has an uncertain origin, that does not mean it has a horrible bread. On the contrary, its rough consistency mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, and some times with a chocolate cover, makes you fall in love with this little monster. As Psalm 117 says “The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner”.

3) Ojo

Sometimes known as ojo, and sometimes known as ojo de buey, ojo de venado or ojo de pancha. This mystic dessert mixes indescribable sensations, something between the airiness and crunchiness of a Laurel (another type of Mexican sweet bread) with mantecada’s fluffiness. When these two flavors are mixed in a bite, gastronomical orgasm like no other is felt. I’ve seen new places with this guy since high-school and has raised my expectation on what I want in my bread.

4) Elote

When I talk about an elote, I don’t mean eating corn, it’s eating a bread shaped like corn. According to the Popol Vuh humankind comes from corn, so maybe all breads are descendants of this fellow. As with humans, its interior is what matters the most: it has a delicious mixture of dough with chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. You can feel bread’s dynasty in only one mouthful.

5) Concha

Finally, for my last minutes before the world ends, I’ll have a concha. And I mean a concha bread, not something kinkier you little bastards reading my thoughts. A concha is the Mexican bread for excellence. There was no bakery in Mexico that did not sell it* and I believe this bread keeps the true meaning of Mexican food. It’s sugary, it’s fluffy, it’s wonderful. It would be a disgrace for all my ancestors if I didn’t eat one concha in my last meal.

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After eating those pieces of bread, my relationship with life has been fulfilled, I can die in peace with a smile in my face. After all, today, I learned what made human existence great. It wasn’t perfect, for sure, but noble enough to have created something as glorious as a piece of sweet bread.

Plot warning: Yes, I am assuming there was a baker left the day before all ended. Also, he decided to make these pieces of bread before dying instead of spending time with his family or anything else. He didn’t go and made something more significant to his life before its ending, but instead, he cooked bread for me. How egocentric is that?

* Curiously, once I went with some friends to a bakery called “La casa del pan” and they didn’t have conchas, what an irony.

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