Tag Archives: Bread

It’s Not About Me

31 May

Great wine requires poor soil and difficult weather.

My son is me without the filters.

But he’s also like no one I’ve ever met.

I like people who struggle.

I don’t want to talk about things in the morning.  At least not before coffee.

My friends have begun to get vasectomies.  I’m hoping it’s not a thing.

I like to bring order.

Pulling weeds makes me happy.

I have little patience for chaos.

I tend to blame others.

There is a theory that at some point during our evolution we were actually amphibious, hence the webbing between our thumb and forefingers, our relative hairlessness, and the happiness we find near water.

I regularly dream of the ocean, although it is usually dangerously turbulent.

Bread dough, forced by cold air to rise slowly , creates a richer, more flavorful bread.

I can walk into a bar, and in thirty minutes have a new friend.

Of course, I’ll probably never see them again.

Which brings us back to the whole friend issue.

Wines produced at high altitudes, on cold, barren outcrops, and in the least promising soil, seem to be the ones I like best.

Cold showers always make for a better day.

As does a morning run.

I rarely do either.

I find wine both delicious and fascinating.

I find Amy both delicious and fascinating.

I have no desire to sleep with wine.

If I go from running not at all, to running a lot, I get injured.

If I build up slowly, I’m OK.

It is possible that a lovely mansion built on a rise overlooking a bay will, in a hundred and fifty years, stand empty amidst warehouses, garbage trucks, and sewage treatment facilities, impossible to sell.

Time is fleeting and context is all.

I love the idea of sourdough more than the actual bread.

The process is more interesting than the taste.

My son is smart.

He may be smarter than me.

But he is not as smart as he thinks.

When it comes to people, Hallie may be smarter than us all.

The very word, disability, is limiting.

What does it mean?

I may not be a Bordeaux guy.

I may actually lean Pinot.

But, of course, Italy will always have my heart.

Up north.  In the mountains.

Marriage improves with struggle.

Maybe all things do.

Although it’s a fine line.

I can no longer read by the light of my bedside lamp without holding the book up to my nose.

And then I have to squint.

It is possible to drink wine just about every night.

But not advisable.

It is possible to do sit-ups with your daughter sitting on your belly.

As long as there’s no jumping up and down.

I am a good parent.

I’m a pretty good husband.

I suspect I’ve become a better actor while acting not at all.

My emotions have become more accessible.

In fact, I’m often so tired I cry.

Money is not as important as it seems.

It is, however, addictive.

I’ve made good choices.

I have good instincts.

I am horrible with names.

I’m a creature of routine.

Gifts are tough.

They mean less and less to me.  There’s not that much I want.

And I certainly don’t want to give something meaningless to others.

When I’m ebullient I feel I say too much.

When I’m not I say too little.

Silence is comfortable.  But things seem to build up, like water behind a dam.

Today is my father’s birthday.  He would have been seventy-three.

OK, maybe it is about me.

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.