BY GIANNI UBRIACO
Bread; it's a small word, but it means so many things to so many people.
It's one of the very few things in the world that makes each community unique, and at the same time, it connects us together. That was the idea behind Sudbury's bread project.
Sponsored by the New Horizons for Seniors Program,  the bread project was chosen to foster inter-generational communication with focuses on culture and community arts.
"I've been involved with seniors for a long time and every time a senior's project comes up and it's doable and good for the community, we do it," says the chair of the bread project group, Mary Stefura. "I think we achieved our goal of inter-culture communication for sure."
The program was launched by six seniors from various ethnic communities: Gertie Manitowabi and Margaret Gordon, members of the native community, Finnish-Canadian member Arja Makinen, Greek-Canadians Shirley Moutsatsos and Rita Mitsopulos, Italian-Canadian Reta Rinaldi, and Ukrainian-Canadian Mary Stefura. Judi Cartman represented people who follow Jewish traditions.
The group's final event took place this past Sunday afternoon at Tom Davies Square. The culmination of a year of work for the group featured an exhibit of festive breads by the six communities.
Food journalist Naomi Duguid was the featured speaker.
"I think the bread project is a fabulous summing up of
what bread means to  all of us," she says.
"It means community and identity, as well as sustenance."
Together with her husband, Jeffery , Duguid has written five cookbooks. They include Flatbreads and Flavours in 1995; Seductions of Rice in 1998; Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet in 2000; Home Baking in 2003; and Mangoes and Curry Leaves last November. Her latest book has just received the Association of Culinary Arts Professionals' Julius Chiles prize for best book in the world.
She presented a slide-show of some of the countless variations of breads the world has to offer, including breads from Turkey, India, Portugal, Yemen, Armenia, China and Argentina. She also talked about a number of different methods that people all over the world use to make bread, besides baking it in the oven.
They included baking bread over a hot griddle, a skillet, deep-frying it, and even baking it in the sand.
"People in a place that's hard to find on a map, all of us here in Sudbury, and people anywhere that are non-tropical share this bread culture," she says. "It's a human connection and it's something they've done with this bread project. It links us not only to each other, but also to the rest of the world."