Bread speaks any world language
Bulgarian Nadezhda Savova has set up a staff of life houses network
2 May, 2013Stara Zagora, a Southern Bulgarian city and one of the country's oldest settlements, will see the tradition of ancient-recipe bread-making as a form of art and therapy revived. The person behind it is Nadezhda Savova, PhD in Cultural Anthropology at Princeton University, sociology and cultural studies professor at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia and UNESCO consultant, who is also a founder of the International Council for Cultural Centers (I3C). These cultural centres are analogous to what is known in Bulgaria as chitalishte - a community centre and places for reading and social interactions.Savova gave a lecture on "Bread Stamps from Antiquity to Date" at the Regional History Museum in the city. Photos of bread stamps collected from museums all over the world were displayed. They trace the evolution of signs put on bread from Neolithic times until present days. According to the speaker, this makes bread not only food but also a means of communication with the Divine.The event marked the second stage of Nadezhda Savova's project to create a global Bread Houses Network. The first Bread House operating in Bulgaria was established by her in the town of Gabrovo and the second will be housed at her old family house in Stara Zagora. There, everybody can bake old Bulgarian bread recipes and take the bread home or donate it to the ailing or needy, Nadezhda Savova told BTA. According to her, bread-making is a method of bringing a community together and an art therapy for people with various disabilities.Savova's invention is about bread-making not only as a national tradition but also as a factor with a hefty impact in social, therapeutic, cultural and educational terms. This is something she can confirm, having travelled to 76 countries exploring bread-making techniques and the link between ecology and art. Nadezhda Savova herself writes on the project website that everybody passionate about bread get together for baking events - enthusiasts, volunteers, bakers, donors, social workers, curious people, young and old alike, as she lists them.According to her, "bread houses" are a sort of focal points in a city environment. It is a place for social interactions where people of all ages, professions and social background, generally of all walks of life, gather to take part in making bread. According to Savova, sharing is pivotal. The young woman is convinced this will become a space "where we all will knead joy and friendships."