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VOL. 39 | NO. 7 | Friday, February 13, 2015

Tutti bread might sound frutti but it isn’t

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There were several occasions in January when friends and church members took food to someone’s house, due either to illness or a death in the family.

With the moves my family experienced and the sadness our friends and family experienced, January 2015 was not an easy month, and I’m glad it’s over. I hope February will calm down for everyone involved.

Large quantities of food were prepared and taken to various homes, and so I gleaned a few new recipes.

One such recipe was tutti bread. Crazy name, huh? I’d never heard of this “bread” my friend Pam Simpson made, but she said it had been in her family for years and years, that she was always making it and taking it somewhere.

After some searching, it seems it has been around for years. Guess I just haven’t been running around with the right group. I think you’ll really like it!

During my search for tutti bread, I found various other bread recipes, including one that caught my eye that I’ll also share.

It doesn’t sound like much – the name is just fancy French bread – but it looks like it would be pretty yummy.

I’ve tried to find information about how tutti bread got its name. This wasn’t easy to find, but I did come across a few explanations.

Also, my younger sister Karen sent me some strange food trivia I thought I would share. But let’s talk about the recipe first.

I found only two recipes for tutti bread – one from Cooks.com and one from the Sirmon Family Cookbook by Sandy (Sirmon) Coston.

I don’t know this family, and they didn’t elaborate on the origin of the recipe.

The word tutti is Italian for “all,” and is the plural of tutto. Tutti frutti is Italian for “all fruits,” so I’m thinking tutti bread would mean all of the ingredients are stuffed into the bread. But that’s just me, and my deduction.

Tutti Bread

1 loaf French bread
8 oz. pkg. Swiss cheese slices
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1 tbsp. poppy seed
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
4 slices raw bacon, diced

Slice bread into 16 slices, cutting almost to bottom of loaf. Cut cheese into diagonal slices. Insert in loaf with point up.

Mix onion, butter, mustard and poppy seed. “Ice” loaf with mixture. Sprinkle bacon over loaf. Cook at 400 degrees until bacon is done.

Fancy French Bread

1 loaf French bread
1 (12 oz.) pkg. Mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 stick butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 tbsp. crushed parsley
4 thin slices bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice bread loaf nearly through. Put slice of cheese between the slices of bread. Sauté onions in butter and add parsley; pour onions, butter, and parsley over loaf. Place slices of bacon along top of loaf. Wrap in heavy-duty foil. Bake 20 minutes, uncover, and cook until bacon is done.

Tutti is also used in music. It can be an adjective meaning “all the voices or instruments together,” or a noun meaning “a tutti passage or movement,” or “the tonal product or effect of a tutti performance” (Dictionary.com).

But this bread isn’t very musically inclined, so this can’t be a very reliable reference.

I did find a definition by Little Richard, but it refers to the song “Tutti Frutti.”

He said, “I was a dishwasher at the Greyhound Bus Station in Macon, Georgia. I was making $12 a week, and worked for many years there. And I used to sing ‘Tutti Frutti’ every night because the boss man would make me wash so many pots, and you couldn’t send anything back to him, so the only thing I could think of to get back at him was ‘Bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo.’ He didn’t know what I was saying, and I didn’t either.”

As interesting as that explanation is, I still don’t think it refers to tutti bread. Honestly, I got so distracted after that, I quit my search.

Now for the food trivia my sister Karen sent me. Here it is:

“Given the rise in foodie culture, it’s no wonder that there are a plethora of cookbooks available covering every imaginable kind of comestible. However, you might be surprised to learn just how far back the recording of food preparation goes: One of the earliest known recipes was written on cuneiform tablets, and has been dated almost 4,000 years ago to around 1700 B.C.”

The above bit of information was in the Grand Junction Free Times.

Here’s more on the subject from the New York Times:

“Tucked away in a dark room of a Gothic-style library at Yale University, what may be the world’s oldest known cookbooks are shedding light on an ancient cuisine.

“Known as the Yale culinary tablets, the three small Mesopotamian clay slabs, dating to about 1700 B.C., contain what are probably the oldest known written recipes, according to William W. Hallo, the curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection and a professor of Assyriology and Babylonian literature.

“The tablets, the largest of which measures seven by nine-and-a-half inches, are covered with compact, tiny lines of cuneiform writing. Although damaged to different degrees, they provide cooking instructions for more than two dozen Mesopotamian dishes, among them stews of pigeon, lamb or spleen, a turnip dish and a kind of poultry pie.”

I think I’ll stick to tutti bread. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

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