Uh … Are We In Ohio?
As the snow fell, and after the tad-bit bitter, orange marmalade was finished, I decided to make sticky buns for the workers where The Boy goes to play.
There is nothing like working with yeast dough. I used to bake a lot of bread. The kneading and stretching and physical aspect of working with dough are therapeutic. and watching the yeast grow is my idea of a great science.
My bread was amazing, but it how much bread can or should a person eat? According to some diets, you shouldn’t eat bread at all. Others want you to only eat whole wheat or a think slice.
Have those nutknobs ever been around of fresh baked bread, with a stick of butter next to it?
I say not.
We have a photo of Nick’s great grandmother who lived to be 103, holding a loaf of bread she baked, at 100. I have heard that she lived that old because she was too mean to die.
The sticky buns I made, yesterday, were a new recipe. Although they turned out tasty, it wasn’t my favorite recipe. I like them gooier.
When I bake, I usually get quite tired. Mind you, I had also cleaned and done my writing work, prior, so it isn’t just the baking.
But I get tired enough to think, about several things. One is that I could never run a bakery. Years ago, when Nick worked at Avon, and he would take in my baked goods, people would say to him, “Your wife should start a bakery.”
Are you kidding? No way Gertrude. Bakers get up at 3 in the morning and bake and bake and bake.
Another thing I think about is how hard it would have been to live back in time. There was no King Arthur flour in a bag, no sugar in a canister, pure vanilla extract or vanilla beans, at the ready.
Can you imagine living in a time when you had to clear the land, plant the crops, pray for favorable conditions, harvest the crops, (if they grew) process them, and then, make the food?
Talk about fortitude. And gumption.
I have wondered if I could have done that. Would I have set off for a new world because of religious persecution, over-taxation or oppression of thought and being? Would I have had the guts, gumption and stamina?
Or would I have died? Or stayed in what ever station in life that some system put me it?
There are times when I think that I would have made it as far as Boston and would have plopped my hoop skirt on a settee and sipped my tea and fanned myself and said, this is far as I will go.
I have seen the size and conditions of the ships that sailed from England. My ancestors were from England, Ireland and Scotland, so I tend to put myself on board the ships that sailed away from England.
Those voyages were not Caribbean cruises. Except maybe the ones where the passengers get intestinal viruses and puke the whole time. But those ships that brought over the people looking for new lives, or at least , escaping their old lives, were small, putrid … and leaked.
And when I see the covered wagons that carried people from the east coast, into new territories filled with unchartered roads and hostilities, for the unknown, I have to ask myself … would I? Could I?
Baking and cooking and many of the tasks that I find enjoyable, were not done for joy. They were done for survival.
I have an old Kitchenaid mixer. It hast to be at least 30 years old. It was my mother’s. I used it to make the dough for the sticky buns. But most of the time, when I make bread, I don’t use a mixer. I do it al by hand. It is hard work.
I put my bread and sticky buns in an oven that I simply turned a knob to start. I have never had to chop the wood or find the twigs to start a fire to bake my bread.
When I make lunch and dinner today, I will go to the refrigerator and open the door. I might look in the pantry, at shelves of canned goods and at jars of pickles and jam and relish and mayonnaise.
And I might say, “Oh, what sounds good?” Or “Nothing sounds good.”
I can open the freezer and find vegetables grown in summer, ice cream made with pasteurized cream. I can grab a stick of butter, and I didn’t have to milk the cow or churn the cream, to make it.
Growing up, I was told to clean my plate and think about the starving kids in Africa. I don’t know why they said Africa. I mean, seriously, there are kids in our area in York County, who depend on the kindness of society or churches or neighbors, to give them food.
If we get hungry, we can usually find something in our house to eat in a matter of a couple of minutes. Think about houses where the pantries and refrigerators are empty. Think about being hungry.
Do you ever say, “I’m starving?”
Or have you said, “I am so stuffed, I am never going to eat, again?”
But there are people, people closer than we think, who say, “I’m starving,” and it is a fact.
And I talk about sticky buns not being gooey enough.
Because I care about food and feeding people, and looking beyond the needs within my own house, Nick and I began contributing food and money to the Clover Assistance.
Ever since I went to St Paul’s to prepare food for the neighbors, I can’t get hungry people out of my head.
The Clover Assistance, offers those neighbors in need, food, education and financial support.
When we go to the grocery, we pick up food for us and food for Clover Assistance.
And knowing that fish and loaves of bread need to be multiplied, and the act of many, magnifies what one or two people can do,
I asked some of my wonderful neighbors to participate in this little idea of mine. I call it, “Neighbors Calling.”
I asked my neighbors to join me in contributing to Clover Assistance. Once a month, I will post a list of items the assistance says they need. My neighbors will purchase those items, and on a Sunday, I will take a neighborhood child or two, with me. WE will pull my garden wagon through the neighborhood and collect the goods. The children will help me inventory time, and make a list. Nick and I will take them to Clover Assistance.
No one has to break their bank or take too much time. But this way, they can help. And I know my neighbors to be kind, good, generous people.
We are each going to extend ourselves and make those loaves of bread grow.
If you live in Timberlake and want to participate, please let me know. Our first pick-up is Sunday.
All the best,