On a day-off, Papa, after his breakfast, opens the fridge and reaches for a half-empty bottle of wine. Then a half-full pot of flour. I clear the table, as I am to help. By now, I know the drill:
Papa turns on the radio, finds himself a glass and pours halfway, humming a tune in unison with his favorite station. I roll out the bread-making set and pour half a jar of tap water.
He reaches for the salt and the spices. I suggest sriracha. He mindlessly agrees, about to start his “magic.” Everything is placed according to plan, especially himself. Standing upon the work station he initiates the first move: enough flour and water for mixing. As he starts to knead a handful, working for consistency, he draws a sip from the glass then contemplates the deflated beige ball left on the set. “Can you fetch me another glass and the bottle?” There’s no provision for me to refuse. I oblige. I know what the wine’s for. It’s part of the mix, with the spices, it goes eventually into the dough. And so he keeps on drawing and sipping, for a redder mixture, a redder figure, until he claims the oven’s hot enough and I open the window. By now the directions are louder to be heard over the music, or so Papa says, and to timely prompt the instructions. As he toils toward his goal, I get the plate ready with bakery paper.
Eventually, he models the brownish mush into a round flat asperous plane. Before it’s exposed to its little hell, I recognize himself in the work.