Food, the good and the bad

First the bad: a week ago the power went out (transformer blew, judging from the sound). Only for around five hours but that’s enough that we had to throw out all dairy products and leftovers in the refrigerator. That’s Earth Balance, yogurt, feta, tofu, Parmesan, hummus and dog food. And cheddar. We don’t eat that much cheese per week, but given the unpredictability of what’s available in the pandemic I try to stock up. All wasted. I spent an extra hundred dollars replacing all that. Bummer.

The good. Some time back I read The Woman’s Own Book of the Home, a 1930s household management guide passed down from my grandmother. The recipes are a little intimidating to modern eyes as they say things like “place in the middle of a hot oven until done,” which isn’t very precise. However you can find translation guides online (“hot” in this context is 400 to 450 F) so I decided I’d try one of the bread recipes. I scaled it down by half — it’s the kind of thing you’d make for a farm family of six — and gave it a shot. Despite the lack of detail (no suggestion how long to knead it for, for instance), I had no trouble following it. Perhaps not surprising as I’ve been baking bread for around forty years, but I was actually surprised it came out well.It’s a basic whole wheat bread, nothing fancy, but satisfying. And as a translation of the recipe, an accomplishment I’m proud of.


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