Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Reality: there would be no freshly baked Daily Bread for supper tonight. Okay. What's the back-up plan?
Biscuits? Not my strongest suit, but the kids would eat them. In a house full of kids, creativity yields to practicality, and I'm pretty sure these kids would eat biscuits. Could I make Mickey Mouse biscuits? That might be a winner, baked in an iron skillet with plenty of melted butter. Do we have butter?
I'm visiting a friend this week, and trying to make myself useful. She's at work and the boys are in school, so I'm practicing my long-held belief that every working mother needs a wife. That would be the imaginary June Cleaver, who loves to putter about the house in shirtwaist dress and pearl choker, putting lavender sachets in the linen closet, picking bugs by hand off the heirloom tomatoes in the organic backyard garden, and, above all, whipping up delicious all-natural meals daily while the Mom is advancing her career in the Real World. Home-baked bread is part of that dream.
Cooking in someone else's kitchen is a good exercise. Details one takes for granted suddenly become important. How much hand kneading will produce the same result as my stand mixer? Can I use her Lite margarine in place of butter and vegetable oil instead of olive oil? Where's a warm spot for the dough to rise? And by the way, none of this matters because the yeast is dead. Shift gears and find the baking powder.
Side dishes: carrots or green beans? I'm used to fresh, but here the veggies are frozen. Should they defrost before going into the casserole? How long does the oven take to heat? I thought I knew my way around a kitchen, but now the truth is clear: I know my way around MY kitchen. Ah, humility is a necessary but bitter cup.
Yesterday, the six-year old resisted tasting my chicken-rice-carrot casserole, begging for peanut butter, a hot dog, anything but the unfamiliar food on his plate. Ah, humility. Never risk your self-esteem cooking for small children. Finally he took a bite and muttered, "Actually, it's pretty good." My joy was boundless. So today I'm facing the challenge again. By the end of this visit, my humility should be well established.
So, back to the biscuits. Which cabinet might contain baking soda, salt and some sort of oil?
Wait. On the counter, abandoned half an hour ago, what's that? A cup of foaming creatures, life from death, hope springing eternal. The yeast is rising. Houston, we have lift off!