Monday, June 11, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Our New Bread Box

I hope you aren't disappointed that this week's Bread on Monday post isn't a bread recipe. I found this wonderful bread box this weekend at the flea market. First, I absolutely fell in love with it and was trying to decide whether or not to pinch out the money for it ($5) when money needs to go so many other places, but then I heard a bit of the story behind it and I had to give this beautiful treasure a home in our kitchen.

You can tell just by looking at the wood (and other materials) used that this bread box is VERY old, yet it has been taken very good care of. It has a tiny little ding here and there, and the inset is slightly warped, but still in far better shape than you would expect. And although most items you find at the flea market you have no idea where they came from (but often wish you did, or wish they could talk), I purchased this from a vendor that had gotten it straight from its owner.

The owner is a 98-year old woman that is devotedly taking care of her older and ailing husband! That is definitely an amazing kind of love, and one that I admire. She is also taking care of their beloved, long-time pet .... a blind dog. But sadly, she is planning on having the little dog put to sleep because it can't see where it is going and has become a tripping hazard for her. Although they love the dog very much, she fears that if she trips and falls over the dog, she might get hurt and not be able to care for her husband. I can understand it, but that is SO SAD! And I can't imagine having to make a decision like that. That dog would be a great companion and comfort for her right now. But I also can't imagine how difficult it must be, at 98, to care for both. I can't tell you how much I admire this woman, and I haven't even met her in person.

Back to the bread box .... once upon a time, they used it a LOT. Taking a moment to imagine all the wonderful homemade breads she must have lovingly placed in it over the years makes for a great mental image that makes me smile. Even at nearly 100 (and her husband is probably is at least that or more), they are obviously still deeply in love. I can envision her, in years past, lovingly standing over the kitchen table, flour and other ingredients everywhere, as she eagerly works, with a warm and caring smile on her face, to bake wonderful breads that she is sure will please her husband. I can then picture him coming in from a hard day in the field, opening up the bread box, and taking out a still warm biscuit, donut, or hunk of yeast bread, beaming ear to ear because his wife loves him so much that she worked hard in a hot kitchen to make such a wonderful treat for him, then eagerly gobbling it up! What a beautiful picture this bread box, and the little story behind it, conjures up, and I have no doubt but that it was that way.

But because the woman loves her husband so much, she is now sadly letting go of, and giving away all of their treasured things that they no longer use much. She is doing this to make their home much easier to move about in. I understand this, it makes since in a very loving way, but it is still very sad. As people age, they should not have to give up the things they cherish, the things that gave them pleasure throughout their long life. So even though we had gotten a smaller, handmade bread box just a few weeks ago, I decided that this one definitely had to find a home in our kitchen, too. You may think this sounds weird, but when I hold this box, or run my hand across it, I can literally feel the love coming from it. The kind of love this couple has is a rarity these days, and I truly admire them. Although I have no doubt that it will, I hope that when I am 98, mine and Dave's love will be that unconditional and strong as well. And although I know that ingredients used have greatly changed over the years since this woman began cooking for her husband, I look forward to proudly carrying on this woman's tradition and baking many, many wonderful breads to fill it with and have ready for Dave when he comes in famished from a hard day of work. Even those ingredients, we are striving to go back to the older, healthier style of. (Well, just don't try and take my instant yeast away from me though).

I will display this wonderful bread box PROUDLY in our kitchen, and hope that even a little bit of their rare and admiral love that comes with it, rubs off into, and gives our home a little blessing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

BREAD ON MONDAY - Special Occasions Pancakes

Oh, my.... we have had such a busy couple of weeks that we have neglected to get anything posted on here since last Monday! This past week, I have been working on a bread recipe that had been brewing in my mind, and I was hoping to post it here today, but it is still coming out too heavy. It is very tasty, and Dave has been a sport and enjoyed eating the 'flops' (poor chickens, lol), but I want to get the kinks out of the recipe before I post the it here. So since I don't have a new bread recipe ready for this week, I am going to post a recipe for the other thing in the bread family that I have been enjoying this week . . . . PANCAKES. For some reason, I just really got into a pancake mood this week.

I have two good pancake recipes that I have developed and used over the years. One is my very tasty, yet very economical recipe (remember, I raised 6 kids), and the other is my even lighter and tastier, 'for special occasions' recipe. It is the latter recipe that I will share with you today.

Special Occasions Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I use Zulka)
  • 1/4 tsp. (scant) salt (I use unrefined)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • your favorite oil or fat for frying
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt; set aside.

In a smaller bowl, lightly whisk together milk, egg and oil.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until all is moistened.

Cook pancakes on a heated, lightly oiled skillet or griddle until covered with bubbles. 

Flip pancakes over and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown. DO NOT 'smash' pancakes with turner, as it will toughen them.
Serve hot with your favorite pancake topping.  Makes about 6 average sized pancakes.