Almost everyday for much of my life I’ve had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my lunch. It’s a taste I acquired in elementary school at St. Pius X in Delevan, New York. Back then the bread was white and the jelly was almost always grape. Later in life while working at Franklinville Central School my coworkers marvelled at the lack of diversity in my lunch choices. While they enjoyed ham and cheese, egg salad and other choices I had PB&J. The choice of bread varied and the brand varied from time to time but my favorite brand since childhood has remained Monks Bread. Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, New York is about an hour’s drive from where i live and when we are no longer social distancing it will be one of my first visits. The Abbey was established in 1951 and one of the early Trappist brothers was a former US Navy baker. He began making bread for the community and in time they decided to marked the bread to stores in the area. As a boy I remember they had three flavors. White, wheat and cinnamon raisin.
My first visit to the monastery was in January 1979 and I’ve been returning ever since. My last visit was March 9 of this year. Today I ordered three loaves of Monks bread for my lunch meals. My favorite is sunflower but I also like multigrain and wheat. The monks make a number of other flavors and in recent years have begun to make biscotti in a number of different flavors. My favorite biscotti is dark chocolate. Though I cannot go there whenever I open the package of bread for lunch the aroma reminds me of the monastery and its prayerful presence. If you’ve never been there I encourage you to visit when its okay to visit people again. You won’t be disappointed.