17 September 2010

hot bread

About three weeks ago, I bought a bread machine.

There, I said it. Now it's out there for everyone to read.

For some reason, I feel shame about this. Maybe it's because of the fact that it was a "one-click" impulse buy on Amazon.com (and now you know that I did not support my local community by shopping local--just more shame heaped on shame in this post). Maybe it's because I feel like delegating my bread baking to some "machine" makes me less of a cook. Maybe it's because our new Breadman Pro takes up two feet of counter space in our already cramped kitchen. Maybe it's an impossibly complicated amalgamation of all of these. It doesn't really matter. What really matters is that I have, in the last three weeks, not purchased a single loaf of squishy sandwich bread from the grocery store. And for that, I am proud.

I'm especially proud of the fact that I know what's going in to each loaf I make. I now get to be the one who decides how much fat, sweet, whole grain, whatever, our family is ingesting in each slice. I'm not sure exactly how I morphed into the lady who doesn't bother much with checking the labels because there are no labels, who poo-poohs as much processed food as possible. If you'd asked me a couple of years ago, I'd have told you that THAT lady was C-R-A-Z-Y paranoid and, most definitely, had
way too much time on her hands. In fact, I know for a fact that I passed judgment on THAT lady plenty of times, back when SHE was not ME.

But here I sit, munching on hot bread, just pulled from the machine minutes before, steaming and dotted with butter. And I'm smiling.

Not only can we have fresh, hot bread whenever we want it, but we can devour dinner rolls and make pizza that rivals some of the best take-out places around. In fact, Jules told his babysitter, who has become accustomed to popping a frozen pizza in the microwave for the kids on the nights she watches them during dinner time, that he no longer wants the frozen stuff, and that he prefers "fresh" pizza now. I've even considered making a couple of extra "fresh" pizzas and then freezing them to have them on hand for situations like this. Maybe things are getting out of hand...

But I think I've reached the point of no return. It's been a slow metamorphosis, after all. But I find myself getting really comfortable with the idea that yes, most of the jam we eat will have been made by me in the summer months, that we'll always have a vegetable garden, and that it will only get bigger as years pass.

And that's all got me smiling, too. Smiling because fresh bread, fresh jam, fresh-from-the-garden fruits and veggies taste better, but smiling, also, because I'm starting to learn things about myself and how to manage busy days with busy little people and still feed us all what I now believe is "proper food." Some of this requires cutting corners, coming to terms with the fact that baking my own bread from scratch, kneading it with my own hands, while an immensely satisfying tactile and olfactory experience, will no doubt turn me into THAT (crazy) lady I so envy but am so loathe to become. So my bread baking is now pretty much restricted to the "whir-whir-SHAKE" and (very obnoxious) "BEEP----BEEP" of the Breadman Pro.

Seems like a small sacrifice to make.

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