Sunday, May 30, 2010

Full-Circle, or--A Year Later

A little over a year ago, Matt and I started this blog as we were moving into this house. Now we are quite settled in, married for almost a year, and I find myself recognizing the season more meaningfully as I search the area for edible native plants and cultivate our own little garden. I return to what I wrote about a year ago, believing more than ever that
"Eating is an action with consequences beyond a single individual, and it should be a conscious decision with awareness of implications, with every meal."
My present concern (as was last year) is with bread. Recently, we bought a little garlic loaf at the grocery store, and although it had better than average ingredients, I couldn't help but think about production and value of bread--where it comes from and who puts the effort into it?
I have been reading about making bread and going through the introduction of Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Reinhart writes with such clarity and passion, it is difficult not to catch his enthusiasm for the craft. Many of his recipes, however, take several days to make, and I promised myself that I wouldn't start baking from his book until I finished the introduction. Thus, I revisited Dough, and made fougasse to go along with our dinner. I used half a batch of the "white dough" and hope to make breadsticks with the rest tomorrow. As I learn about fermentation and other parts of the bread-making process, I appreciate bread more; I am starting to visualize the process by which good bread comes to be--the release of the sugars, the resulting caramelization of the crust. I love bread!

Of course, as I'm expanding my knowledge of bread, I'm preparing for ten days of raw food. Soon, Matt will be away in Louisville for a week, and I thought that I would repeat last year's raw week. I've started making kale chips and flax crackers, and am experimenting with raw bars (dates, raw cacao, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds). This year will be more challenging, working full time, so I'm focusing more on things that can be more portable. I foresee myself making a few things on my days off (dressings, nut pates, etc.) and eating them for a few days. I'm glad that I'm over last year's unease over my love for bread--I realize that I can eat raw when I want (and when the produce is exceptional and in season), and I can cultivate my bread-making skills. The two aren't necessarily in conflict with each other, and there is a time and a place for both.

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