Wordly Wise Wednesday | Zwieback

Hi everyone,

It’s evening here! I didn’t mean to be late but it’s been one of those weeks. Long hours at the office means little time for anything but reading and vegging when I get home. I’m hoping to do some writing before I head to bed tonight, but we’ll see how that pans out.

In the meantime, here’s a small WWW. I didn’t want another week to go by without doing a proper one.


n. (SWEE – back)

  1. a usually sweetened bread enriched with eggs that is baked and then sliced and toasted until dry and crisp


In ages past, keeping food fresh for any length of time required a lot of ingenuity, especially when one needed to carry comestibles on a long journey. One of the solutions people came up with for keeping bread edible for traveling was to bake it twice, thereby drying it and slowing the spoiling process. The etymology of zwieback reflects this baker’s trick; it was borrowed from a German word that literally means “twice baked.” Nowadays, zwieback is not just used as a foodstuff—the texture of the dried bread makes zwieback a suitable teething device for infants. Incidentally, other twice-baked goods whose origins reflect that fact include biscuit and biscotti, both of which come from phrases meaning “twice-cooked bread.”

The first day without Greta was the hardest.

She had always known what I needed before I even realized that I needed anything at all. Whether it was packing an extra pair of boots the morning after the Rains, knowing that mine would be worn out before the day’s end or preparing an extra batch of zwieback to last me on a week-long journey to the next county’s market. 

I had never fully appreciated how dependent I was on her love and care until the morning I woke up and realized that I would need to care for myself.

And so I went through the day, without my sister, without my twin, and understood for the first time, what it was to feel empty inside.

The first night was harder still. There was no voice to lull me to sleep, no one to soothe me when the nightmare of our parents’ death crept through my sleeping mind. 

I daren’t close my eyes and face the darkness alone and so I paced through the house. I searched through every nook that I could uncover for no better reason than to distract my distraught mind.

In a cabinet in the kitchen, I found pack of zwieback, enough to last me fourteen days. 

Greta had always known what I would need without me ever needing to ask. But somehow, she had not realized that the thing I needed most was her.


May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,

Faith  quill-ink

© 2016. Faith Rivens.


3 thoughts on “Wordly Wise Wednesday | Zwieback

  1. I LOVE zwebiack. We have an MCC Mennonite Community sale every April at the college I attended, and they sell the BEST homemade, fresh, zweiback. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make it. I found a great recipe online but I’m not sure I’m good at all at baking bread. I always spelled it different haha. I guess I never looked up the spelling. I will write up a creative thing on this just b/c It’s such an awesome word!!


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