Wednesday, February 25, 2009

christ almighty

Oh, my good lands. I need something to do. Getting weepy over a bread recipe on a Saturday night is absolutely not how I want to spend the remaining months of my twenties. And how it is, exactly, that I'm going to be turning 30 this summer? HOW ON EARTH DID THIS HAPPEN? HOW WAS THIS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? WHO SIGNED OFF ON THIS? IT'S BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT I TELL YOU!

Ahem. Excuse me. It's just that...seriously, where the fuck did the last ten years go? I imagine this is an interior monologue that every 29-and-a-half-year-old has but that doesn't make it any less devastating for me. I've had this horrible feeling lately that I've accomplished absolutely NOTHING in my life that I can look back on and be proud about.

I do have three kids, though. And, you know, they're pretty cute. They have behaviour problems and one of them still poops in his pants but they all sleep in their own beds 75 percent of the time.

Fuck. I totally thought I'd be a washed up rock star by now with drug problems and crabs, or the youngest, hottest winner of the Nobel prize for literature and/or general bad-assedness. I should have had my own Food Network show where I'd make fun of Emeril Lagasse and Jaime Oliver would come by and he'd totally flirt with me, but then so would Anthony Bourdain but I'd tell him to go fuck himself cause he could, like, be MY DAD and I'm totally not into that. Unless we were talking about, like, David Bowie or something. That might be ok. I was totally obsessed with Labyrinth when I was a kid, and I'm pretty sure it was the tight pants that had me captivated.

Someone did remind me the other day that I could have spent my twenties doing drugs and that what I've done in the past decade will actually have some value going forward and I'm like, yo. You know the name of someone who will buy my babies? Two out of three are blonde. I think they'd fetch a pretty penny based on looks alone.

I know it's going to be ok. I'm probably not going to cure cancer or racism and I'll probably never be this generations Hemmingway nor will I probably ever visit all the places I'd like to. I might end up old and bitter about it, or I could get run over by a car before I even see 30, leaving dreams and disappointments to the rest of you suckers. Who knows. Today, I'm just cranky.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

making bread at night

Since moving to this house, our priorities and lifestyle have changed. We had always talked about having a kitchen garden, but I, at least, had never really gardened and didn't know anything at all about the work involved in cultivating a successful patch of land that brought forth food. We had planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in wine barrels, stuck in sunny spots on the driveway or along the side of the house in other living situations and I felt like nothing but a frustrated gardener: "Give me some dirt! All I want is a small patch of earth that I can run my fingers through and coax life from." Well, we got it. We've got almost half an acre under us and although only a small part of that is devoted entirely to food and of that most lies fallow in the winter, the work is ever present. Only in the dead of January is there not a weekend when we ought to be doing something in the garden.

This is what I have learned: gardening for me is full of "oughts". If I'm not presently doing something I ought to be doing I have guilt and when I'm at a task I find more enjoyable than another I wonder if I really ought to be doing that one instead of this one I find myself doing and if I've just completely worked hard all day at the height of summer than I'm sure to have missed something I ought to have done and tomorrow will be too late. Today, thank heavens, it is raining because I ought to be working at what defined my day yesterday: weeding. Between weeding and grocery shopping, little else got done yesterday, which is why, at 10 pm last night, I was waiting for my bread to do its second proofing so I could bake the damn thing already. Finally, it was ready--over ready, in fact. I had gotten lost in Kelsey's Brother Juniper bread book and a fine gin and tonic and slice of Della Fattoria semolina bread. This is what 10 pm looked like at my house last night:

The bread (Oat Bran Bread, from the monk's bread book) was delicious. Absolutely wonderful. I cut the recipe in half because it was my first time with this one and I didn't want two loaves of sub-par bread but next time I'll definitely make the full two.

I was so absorbed in the chapter about Struan that tears came to my eyes (may have had something to do with the G&T. It was...strong) and I decided to cook some brown rice for the bread-and-chocolate recipe which uses Struan as the base (I'll update upon completion of that project) but my loaf rose precariously over the brim of the loaf pan. Kelsey has had this book since the dawn of time but I had never thought to use its recipes because, truthfully, the Brother Juniper bread I used to buy at the store was always a little on the dry side. This loaf, however, completely won me over. It's beautiful. It's delicious. It's light enough for the kids to enjoy it and has enough oat and wheat bran for Kelsey and I to acknowledge its goodness.

Oh, my GOD, I know, my oven is awful and disgusting, but this is the only picture I had the presence of mind to take of this glorious loaf.