Wednesday, September 22, 2010
On to lighter topics... The Rebel Bakes
I made pretzels last week.
Lately I've been wondering what makes me an "everyday rebel" particularly when I'm posting pics of knitting and sewing like I'm some kind of Martha Stewart. Which, I'm not. Actually, I think Martha Stewart is an evil minion of Satan sent to earth to make everyone else feel inadequate in all things domestic. I don't let it get to me though, I'm the queen of the dirty house dinner party. In fact, it is possible that if you end up at my house for a dinner party, you'll find yourself cooking. Or maybe folding laundry so you have some place to sit. Or clearing the table so we can eat on it. But just when I was thinking I was at least trying to become Mrs. Steward, I go and make that last post.
Right. I remember now. One second I'm making pretzels and the next I'm writing about controversial birth topics. And you didn't even hear what I was talking about while I was making the bread. Ah yes, that's right, I do have rebel moments.
I'm working on being content. Not just with stuff but with circumstances. And with who I am. I've long held the belief that if you kind of don't like your circumstances you should learn to be content. If you really don't like them then get off your butt and change them. Reality has served me up a double portion of "It-ain't-always-so-simple" and had me reevaluating. Meaning: If you really don't like your circumstances sometimes you just have to suck it up. Or the nicer way of saying it: develop more contentment. So I've decided I'm discontent with my level of contentment. I'm working on that.
Homemaker is a difficult term for me. It sends shivers down my spine and I feel as though someone has died. I avoid it. I also avoid baking. Not because of shivers up or down my spine but because I'm terrible at it. Did you know that baking is really more science than anything? Chemistry to be exact. This fact explains everything. It's really not the science as much as the directions but science, particularly the chemistry variety, likes directions. I read ingredient lists as suggestions and measurements and directions as a road map: this is one way to get there but there is this other way here and another way here... and maybe we don't really want to go there anyway. But science isn't really about suggestions, not if you don't want to blow things up. Did I mention I was terrible at baking? Jeremy is good at baking. Like, talented, even more so if it involves chocolate. It's kind of disgusting. Disgustingly yummy and his time in the "lab" is making me fat. But I digress.
This last week, I didn't avoid baking. Nope, I rushed in and embraced it head on tackling baked goods that were even lacking in chocolate and, in an atypical but noteworthy event, required following directions! *gasp*
Also noteworthy: they didn't come out of a box.
You have no idea how hard this is for me, the following directions part that is. The box part too for that matter. But I did it and started with a recipe a friend on Facebook shared for soft pretzels. I am never paying $3 for a pretzel at the mall again. I can't believe I'm going to say this but not only were they edible, they were delicious! And yes, I realize I'm bragging but I don't care. I made something yummy that was baked. You bet I'm going to get braggy about it. Oh yeah, and Evangeline helped.
I'm really hoping the whole "you're going to get worms if you eat raw flour" thing I used to hear as a kid isn't true because seriously, Evangeline ate cups of the stuff.
This past week we made multiple French country boule loves, two baguettes which were better than any we've found in stores here, dinner rolls, whole wheat sandwich buns, walnut sticky buns, whole wheat country loaf, savory kolaches, flatbreads, homemade pizza and the soft pretzels. They were all delicious, actually. I couldn't believe it this morning when I looked at my plate for breakfast with an omlet and whole wheat toast and thought "wow, I made all that." The ingredients may have come from the store or farmer's market but the actual cooking and baking was all mine. MINE! Even the bread.
And here's the kicker: it tastes delicious and I have enjoyed the experience.
Move over Martha Stewart! My bread is awesome and piles of laundry is the new shabby chic!
I will continue making bread. The secret? I found out making bread doesn't have to be difficult! Thanks to the recipe I'm following I can see myself making fresh dough to bake into various breads every other day. Courtesy of my neighbor, I'm exploring the recipes in Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day and getting inspiration from their wonderful website and blog. This book has quickly moved to the top of my wish list, I'm going to have to return it to my neighbor eventually and I am so going to need my own. Every time I make a batch I am surprised at how easy it is and how fast I'm done.
I felt all kinds of Little House on The Prairie sending the girls off to their little homeschool classes last week with a snack of homemade bread or pretzels wrapped in red gingham sandwich wraps, fresh canteloupe in Mason Jars, their steel water bottles and a sweet little cloth napkin tucked inside. Holy crap, I need to write something controversial again quick!