Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baking bread

I posted these without any words because I wasn't feeling talkative that day. The top picture is of bread inside my cob oven, which I love. The second is of a finished loaf and the rhubarb-strawberry jam I also made that day. I will add a funny story about the rhubarb in a minute. First I want to talk about making bread. Years ago I received a bread machine for Christmas. I loved it. The only problem I had with it was that I could only make one loaf at a time, not being Jesus, one loaf was never enough. The next December my bread machine quit. I talked to a friend and hers had lasted only one year also. My mom had one she never used so I went and borrowed it on a long term plan. In one year it also quit. I know people who have had better luck, but for me they only last one year. I could not stand the thought of filling up the landfill by buying a new one every year so I went without for a few weeks. Then I found an amazing book at a library book sale for $.10. It was called Bake Your Own Bread And Be Healthier. Since day one I have enjoyed bread making so much more manually then I ever did with a machine. With the machine the end product was the important part. With my hands the best parts are the feel of the dough, the connection to women who have been kneading bread for centuries, and making several loaves at once. Bread has become more than just a food I love, it is a lifelong endeavor.

Now the rhubarb. For a couple of years now an older man has been coming into the office to talk every week or so. In the summer he brings me rhubarb and other vegetable from his garden. He sustained injuries during WW2 that make his speech slow and slurred, but if you listen he is easy to understand. A few days before this picture was taken he came in and laid a bag of rhubarb on the counter. I thanked him and we talked for a few more minutes. I needed to get back to work so I picked up the bag and thanked him again. He then said, "can I have a kiss for that?" I turned my head towards him, and I'm sure I looked puzzled, and asked, "What?" He replied, "Can I have a hug for that?" I thought what the hell and leaned in for a shoulder touching embrace. He put his hand on the small of my back and pulled me to him. The old guy was stronger than he looked so it took quite a bit of struggling to get away from him. He seemed to enjoy the struggling. I ran back into my office area, looked at my coworker, and announced, "I think the price of rhubarb has went up."

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