Five Simple Ingredients

22 Aug

Lately when I scoop up my daughter Hallie she has the weight and feel of a good loaf of bread.

I bake bread.  Tired of the dry tasteless quality of even the most expensive store bought loaves, I began baking my own a few years back.  I found that in return for four hours work I could have two warm brown loaves beautiful to look at, wonderful to taste, and so nutritionally real that my body is shocked into a state of physical bliss.    But that’s not all.

There’s the simplicity.  Water, yeast, honey, flour and salt.  With so little to think about, I can focus on quality.  The quality of the ingredients, the quality of my stirring and kneading, and the quality of the time spent doing one thing well.  A luxury in this day and age. 

My son Heath helps.  He actually gets very excited about it, running into the kitchen and dragging his box (an overturned wooden crate) from beneath the kitchen table.  Of course, being three years old, helping involves pouring all dry ingredients into the bowl, stirring in a rather lackluster way, eating as much raw dough as I will allow, and then stirring again in a far more frantic manner until dough flies everywhere and I yell “That’s it! Out! Out! Out of my kitchen!” At which point he gleefully flees the room, laying low until the bread is ready to eat.  It’s our system and we’re fond of it. 

And it works. For I have come to believe over these past few years that the quality of my bread is directly linked to the joy I find in making it.  Rushing the process when tired and cranky always leads to failure.  Dry, misshapen loaves that disintegrate when I try to slice them.  Heath’s assistance, on the other hand, despite the inevitable mayhem, has never failed to produce two solid, resilient and delicious loaves.  It’s the love, you see.  It makes things taste good.

Neither my wife Amy or I have ever been any good with plants.  She adopts them only to fret over their long, sad death.  I occasionally attempt an herb garden, bringing forth small dessicated sprouts which feebly struggle and then die.  And yet, amazingly, Heath seems to flourish effortlessly. 

And now we have Hallie.

With the thin shanks and shrivelled bottom of a ninety year old man she scared us at first, preferring sleep to food, and dropping weight she could ill afford to lose.  But things have changed.  True to her genes, food has become her friend, and she now seems to grow fuller and rounder each day. 

So when I pick her up and hold her close I’m reminded of a fresh loaf of bread.  Warm, sweet and full of love.



2 Responses to “Five Simple Ingredients”

  1. Lori Heath August 23, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    Beautiful ~ ! I love reading your posts. Love you guys!

  2. Erma A September 3, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    The note about Amy lack of a green thumb made me chuckle; it was the love she has not the lack of her skill that brought a smile to my face. Did you parents bake? Just wondering. I looked for a new post earlier this week but had missed it.

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