November 26, 2011

The Joys of Warm Bread

I couldn’t tell you much about these joys, as I am not a baker of bread. I wish I was. In fact, this is something that I would very much like to add to the list of things that I would change about myself. But this list, do you ever feel this way?, is already a long one. Here are a few of the things on it, presently: read more, paint my fingernails more (antithetical to cooking, I know), remember to wash underwear before you are wearing your last pair, make the bed, don’t push your maiden fern to the point of desert-drought before giving it a drink; and abstractly: be more patient, kind, forgiving.

I’m working on all of these things. I’m also trying to not give myself too hard of a time in the meantime, before success is achieved, and I am able to report back, I am now an unflawed human being. (Just kidding.)

But the bread is something that I feel is within my control. I can learn to do this, right? Actually, it will fall very much in line with my increased desire to have more patience, better flexibility with myself when I am trying to learn something.

Bread, I feel, is a good place to start.

I am writing this, I must confess, from a cold café in the mission district of San Francisco. It’s a confession because I have not yet made said bread, of which there will be joys; nor have I ensured that there is in fact the recipe that I am about to discuss, lying in the pages of a wonderful cookbook, in a stack on the floor of my apartment.

I am in this café, because I am supposed to be seriously revising another piece of writing. Alas, I’m cold. I’m not wearing socks and it’s November. All I can think about is warm focaccia. Warm focaccia studded with red grapes, to be precise. Have I imagined such a bread? I believe there is a section of David Tanis’s Heart of the Artichoke that contains this exact thing, and when I get home, and I have had the chance to defrost my toes, I will find out.

But bread, and it’s joys: I think bread and sweet, red grapes, would be a wonderful marriage indeed. Perhaps it could be flecked with rosemary, even. 

November 25, 2011

On First Posts, and Other Mental Feats

The truth is that I’ve been sitting on this idea for months now (maybe a year?). I even talked to my therapist about it. I wish I were kidding.

But you see the level of my procrastination, and torment.

It seems easy, right? Make a blog. Just sit down and type something. Just get into the kitchen, as you do anyway, and make something; then photograph it, as you do anyway; then type it into a little white box, and hit “send” or “post” or some variation of the two in order to get all of this onto the internet; and then you are done, finished, officially blogging—easy, right?

Well, not exactly.

I had a very different first post in mind. It was going to be cheeky, and it was going to be lighthearted. It was going to celebrate my new endeavor, but it wasn’t going to be self-aggrandizing. But then I sat on that “imaginary” post for a week, and then it became two weeks, and well … you get the idea.

I will try to be cheeky, and I will try to be lighthearted, in the future. But I will also try to be honest. I have wanted to start this blog because I love cooking, and I love writing, and what I love about blogs is what seems like their genuine mission, their overall desire, to celebrate life. I need that. A place where I can record the things that are beautiful (however messy), that are delicious (however tiring), that are thrilling (however terrifying).

Several years ago I lived in this quiet little red house, at the end of a dirt road, across the way from a farm. There was a valley, and a strip of woods, and a small brook that ran through the dip in the fields. I had my coffee at my kitchen table in front of this view every morning. I never photographed it.

I miss it now, and wish that I could see it again.

I realized recently that there are many things like this. They come in quietly, and then they slip away. They seem small, insignificant almost, and then, when the view changes, when the perspective shifts, you realize that they are monumental. You carry them around inside of you.

I’d like to put down some of these things to return to later. I’d like to document them, and to share them. They will have mostly to do with food. There will be images, records of these efforts. I’ll write down some bits of observations here and there.

The truth is, I am daunted by it. But I am also excited. I might fail, but I think I’m going to try first.

Maybe I’ll see you around from time to time. (I hope so.)