Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If a bread rises in the woods

I cannot count the ways you have stood by me through the ups and downs of these kitchens of mine. From the heights of the flourless chocolate cake to the depths of The Brisket. I cannot win them all, but I would if I could. For you. Because you have been so generous, allowing me to toddle about your screen this way and tell you both victorious and disappointing culinary yarns about anything I have on my mind. You have certainly seen me through some tough spots.
You have become used to it, I imagine; the rise of your hopes for me, the dashing of the dreams you harbored on my behalf (The sweet potato bread. The biscuits. The white bread.). It was a destructive and perplexing bread-making cycle: Choose a recipe. Execute carefully, ever so carefully. Realize defeat. Slam floured fist on bread board. Wash bread board. Retire to the wine cabinet sullen and cross and taking the name of the recipe writer in vain. Prank calling Acme Bread in Berkeley. Swearing off the stuff. Losing three pounds. And jumping right back on the bandwagon again as soon as someone said Vicksburg Tomato Sandwich (because that is what started this undertaking to begin with, it takes only homemade white bread and homemade mayonnaise and I am obsessed with this sandwich.).

But finally, your diligent chats with the powers of the universe have turned the tables for me. You must be so relieved. And here I sit grateful, but distracted. I am ridiculously charmed by a little bread recipe that has changed everything for me. In fact, I periodically wink at my bread while I am writing for you. Call me the Smitten Hostess.

Yes friends, I have arrived at my new blushing dawn. Yesterday, I was a person who could not make bread. Today, I am the woman who made this bread. I have not tried to play bridge, decorate a wedding cake, or re-tile my backsplash today, but I believe I could do these things. I want you remember three things about me if you hold nothing else in your memory: I read, I kneaded, I conquered. Brioche, look out you wiley coiffed muse, I am coming for you: The Blushing and Breadmaking Hostess.

Serve this bread warm, room temperature, or cold. Serve it in the morning. At lunch. In the evening. Serve it as toast or toast points. As sandwich bread, but never open-faced. Serve it to visiting dignitaries, luminaries, magicians, and kings. But whatever you do, serve it when your whole world is present, not when there is not a soul around to tell that you finally, joyously, grabbed that elusive rabbit and pulled him, gorgeous and worth all the hangovers, out of the hat once and for all. Pepperidge Farm, hear me roar.

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