Putting Bread on the Table

Over this weekend, I had a few serious thoughts about what it means to put bread on the table. I haven’t had a ‘real job’ since I got here and even though I know I will probably long for this time come September, I couldn’t help feeling frustrated and dependent. I have never loved feeling dependent so I wanted to do something about that feeling. My husband patiently listened to my thoughts on the subject, came on my side and wrestled some lurking fears out. I think we both understood more of what it means to be married over the course of that conversation.

Some conclusions I want to record (oh dear God, living with a list-maker is showing) :

I will only have to answer for what has been in my power to do.

I can never find my meaning in what I do even though it is great to enjoy work.

It is good to plan. Amazingly good. And wise.

As someone wise said,

so I began my plan-making. Outlining a schedule for the week and having clear targets helps even when on a steep learning curve. A lot of what I do is for the first time because I haven’t really had the luxury before and it is slow progress. Every morning I wake up, I am grateful that I get to learn about things I like. The process can involve some head-pounding tedium so I factor in happy-making breaks. In the middle of comparing the cost and efficacy of different fabric paints, in German, I took such a break.

Not to keep things too easy, I attempted to make my own bread for the first time in about 12 years. I had a pack of bread mix which I had mistakenly bought thinking it was flour for muffins. Shopping in German deserves its own post. So after punching the instructions into Google Translate (life-saver, if at times requiring further interpretation), I ‘simply’ added lukewarm water, kneaded a very springy dough and let it rise while I went back to art supplies websites in German. An hour later, I gave the dough a few blows and this time went back with a clear head and decisions made.

Who knew it could be this therapeutic?

Eventually I rolled the dough out and cut it into three strips using a butter knife. I thought Braided might look better than Boulder so off my nimble fingers went.

I made a mistake, as you can see but the springiness meant I couldn’t start again. Accepting the occasional mistake is part of learning. All this rising and waiting meant it was halfway between lunch and dinner when we finally heard the angels sing. It was HOT.

It really was too hot to handle.

I tossed some onion rings in a bit of olive oil with a teaspoon of sugar and few twists of the salt and pepper grinders and then lightly cooked a tin of tuna steak with garlic and more of our favourite pepper. The rest of the magic was cream cheese and green pesto.

YUM. It was very crusty but deliciously soft on the inside. With a couple of tweaks to the instructions, I will definitely make this again. Any pointers, amazing recipes and bread-related encouragement welcome.

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12 thoughts on “Putting Bread on the Table

  1. barbara says:

    love this!!!!!!!! What a great writer you are!

  2. Shama says:

    I always admired your way with words. You are a delight. And your posts leave me wanting more. Keep ’em coming girl!

  3. Suhashini Thomas says:

    Hey Ritsya, kneadless to say…you’re doing a fab job of making bread and mixing some inspirational thoughts into it. I loved this blog!

  4. Stef says:

    Ritsya, you should get hold of the book Bread Matters, it’s a bible for making your own bread:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bread-Matters-Why-Make-Your/dp/0007298498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312023877&sr=8-1

    I’m pretty sure it’s available on Google Books (maybe only in part though)

    • ritsya says:

      Thanks Stef, it’s on my wishlist now! Are you a bit of a bread aficionado?

      • Stef says:

        I’m definitely a bit of an aficionado but I do cheat by using an bread maker to mix, knead and bake, although with the excuse that working/studying leaves little time to do it all myself. I do use the best ingredients I can though.

        I’m currently writing my MSc dissertation on carbon footprinting of organic bread, made just outside of Edinburgh and it’s got me thinking more about bread than I ever thought possible!

      • ritsya says:

        Wow. Just how do you end up doing research on the carbon footprint of organic bread.. The mind reels. wow.

  5. Julia says:

    seriously, I could read your stuff all day long…it’s so refreshing and so raw!!! way to go…and I might casually drop by the next time you put some bread on the table šŸ˜‰

    • ritsya says:

      What a great compliment! Thanks Julia. You’re more than welcome to come by the next time there’s bread on the table šŸ™‚ Keep saying nice stuff and you might even get home-made jam to go with it.

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