Bread and Burtonport (NW Ireland)

A few weeks ago French friends served us some great local bread. It is a cottage industry bread, made by a woman in the next town north, an attorney, Tian Mayimin, who has converted to baking bread according to this story, bread that she delivers herself to one's doorstep in time for dinner.

So eventually we ordered some, and sure enough, around 7 pm Tian buzzed and knocked and when we opened the door she handed us two still-warm loaves of bread, of which we made a meal, along with olive oil (to dip it in) and a bit of cheese. It's just as good as the bread we get in Paris from Poilane or the Serge Kayser boulangerie. And still good the next day.

At Poilane in Paris, on the Rue du Cherche Midi, people line up along the sidewalk late afternoon  to buy bread (and a few other bakery products like apple turnovers) for supper or maybe for a schoolchild's after-school snack or goûter. Schools get out late in France, and most children have a snack then, to hold them over till supper, which is even later.

Which makes me think of a not-so-funny-at-the-time but funny now (strange, amusing) story connected with how people think of time. In France 'afternoon' goes on till supper or dinnertime, and dinnertime, at least in cities, is more or less 8 pm. 'Evening' therefore begins at dinnertime. And 'late afternoon' might be 6 o'clockish. (Does afternoon in Madrid go on till people eat--at more like 10pm?)


So one summer, when we borrowed a friend's cottage on an island off Burtonport in Donegal in north-western Ireland, and its owner, who lived in Belfast, asked us to meet their friend Bernard in the Burtonport harbour to get the key and a boat ride to the island (tiny, with perhaps 4 or 5 other cottages) and we turned up 'late afternoon' our time, he had been waiting for two hours and it was very embarrassing.  

There was no bread (no groceries at all, except if one caught some fish) on the island, so for bread and other supplies Bernard would come and take us over to the mainland--but that's another story.

The picture is of downtown Burtonport, as it is known in English, or Ailt an Chorráin, in the Gaeltacht.