An ad inside a Panera said:
Romeo and Juliet.
Bread and Salt.
Olives and Sourdough.
How horrible of an ad is that??
OK, we can understand that “Romeo and Juliet” is, I think, meant to say that “Olives and Sourdough” go together in a perfect union. (What else could it mean?)
But “Bread and Salt”? Huh? How are they like Romeo and Juliet? Does she dry him out and preserve him like salt a piece of dried, stale bread? Does she make him unpalatable in too large a dose? — Romeo and Juliet are a classic Romantic couple! Neither Romeo nor Juliet is like salt to the other!
Who puts salt on their bread, anyway? Gross. You don’t even need salt to make bread! You can add it, yes, but it is not a necessary ingredient.
And how is “Bread and Salt” like “Olives and Sourdough”? Any ideas?
I could understand “Bread and Butter” — a classic combination — or “Flour and Yeast” — which combine to make a new, better product; which interact to form life and to grow; which interact to form the “staff of life” — but how did “Bread and Salt” ever make it public??
Update (10:15 PM): It occurred to me while driving home from some tutoring work I had to run to right after posting, that bread in ancient days was considered the “staff of life” and that salt was a means of exchange in Roman times (hence, from what I have heard, the expression “he’s worth his salt”). But I would think that these facts of ancient history are too unknown in our culture to be used in a local Panera ad.
Someone I know said that bread and salt refer to a European hospitality tradition. (Anyone know where or what that tradition comes from?) But, again, that tradition is not known here, and so should not be used in a local Panera ad.
Also: I made a few changes in the wording of the post.
Update (10:30 PM): Just Google it. And we find, at HouseOfUkraine.com, the article “BREAD AND SALT MEAN HOSPITALITY IN UKRAINE,” which says:
Long ago early Ukrainians were engaged in agriculture and were strongly attached to their land and its fruits. Ukraine the breadbasket of Europe has a rich soil, which produces grain in great abundance. Ukrainian homemakers developed a variety of artistic-looking breads. Bread was regarded as one of the holiest foods because it contained wheat, a staple of life. Over the centuries Ukrainians developed rituals and traditions, which became deeply rooted in their lives.
The ancient tradition of offering a guest bread and salt dates back many centuries. Bread and salt were once considered necessary ingredients for health in daily consumption. Guests in Ukraine are offered a circular bread (klib) and a mold of salt (sil) on an embroidered ceremonial cloth called a rushnyk (pronounced roosh-nick) by their hosts. The hosts greet their visitors with a humble and heartfelt greeting – “With this bread and salt we greet you. We invite you to preserve the Ukrainian culinary arts, by teaching and passing on these traditions to your loved ones – Welcome – Vitayemo!
When offered to a guest, the protocol requires the guest to accept the bread and salt in their hands while bowing their head slightly in thanks, kissing it, and then handing it back to their hosts. Often a small piece of the bread is broken off by the guest, dipped in the salt and then eaten. If it is part of a family gathering the bread may be eaten, put aside to be eaten later or taken to one’s home.
The bread represents hospitality, the warmth of Ukrainian hospitality from the rich black fertile soil of Ukraine. The salt symbolizes friendship, an eternal friendship that will never sour because salt is never corrupted by time therefore, never loses its taste.
In ancient Greece, over two thousand years ago, bread and salt were offered to guests as a greeting. About 2,500 years ago, ancient Ukraine called Scythia at that time, was a granary for Greece with wheat grown on its steeps. In these ancient times Greek colonies such as Tyras, Chersonese (near Sevastopol), Panticapaeum (today’s Kerch) and Olbia where settled along the Black Sea coast of Ukraine. This tradition symbolizes the link of Ukraine with the roots of its Greek culture.