5th October, 2005 The advertisement for Helga's bread said the bread was 'created by fire, then handcrafted by masters'.
Seems backward to me but perhaps they could assist me...
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Dear Helga,

Have you ever noticed in life how sometimes it seems that you are floundering in a fairly tumultuous and unforgiving sea, forever feeling that you are drifting further from the safety of firm land? Certainly, I have this feeling regularly. Occasionally, all too occasionally, I sense a lifebuoy nearby and head off, arms flailing like a demented threshing machine, in search of much needed security. I had one of those moments recently when I saw your advertisement in my wife's magazine.

I refer to the advertisement for your Toasted Soy & Sesame Bread that reads:

Created by fire, then handcrafted by masters.

Now, I am informed by my children that I am out of touch with the real world, that my cave is in need of a technological make-over, that my idea of how things work is severely limited by a mistaken belief that truth and justice will eventually prevail.

That brings me to bread. I thought I understood how it worked. You take some yeast, tickle its budding bits to get it excited, mix with flour, water and a few stray additive codes, roll in seeds of your choice, leave to fester a bit, place in an oven, cook until brown and hollow sounding, slice and, in an ideal world, eat warm with butter.

I would have thought the skill and talent in bread making is in the ingredients, the blending, the proving, the baking. But am I right in that, as the handcrafting comes after the fire bit, it must be in the slicing? Excellent! I need your help.

As I inferred earlier, my children do not think I can cut it so I am naturally interested in anything that elevates slicing to a Master Class level. Please ask your master craftsmen what I need to do to convince the heirs apparent that I can indeed cut it.

Thank you.

Yours rough cut,

J. Cosmo Newbery.

REPLY:,*Sniff!* The joy in this game, odd hobby that it is, is to try to get a good reply. The best reply is the one where you know that you have made someone's day. This afternoon I got a phone call from a lady at Helgas thanking me for my 'most interesting letter'. Oh well...at least she took the time to track me down.