Dave, of Cabin Cove fame (if you haven't been to his blog, go there immediately and explore - I'll wait here until you get back), wrote today about fresh baked bread.
Mmmm... is anything as evocative and homely and just plain wonderful as fresh baked bread?
Let me tell you, becoming gluten intolerant is a punishment. But a punishment in line with a general trend of mine, which is that of being rejected by what many would call the very soul of bread (with apologies to the soda bread of my ancestors and the lovely flatbreads of the native peoples of my homeland). Here's the story:
My mom used to make bread when I was a kid. My mom, being an excellent cook, rarely got to eat more than a slice or two of her own making on any given Baking Day - the Ravening Hoards would descend upon her the moment the oven door opened, and she was lucky to survive the experience with her hair and all her limbs intact. Unfortunately there is no way to hide the fact that one is baking bread - the smell spreads like oil on water, and marauding children from miles away are drawn like sharks to chum (there's a charming analogy for you). So baking bread was a sacrificial act of love for mom, rather than a form of sensual self indulgence.
When the folks moved to Scotland she made *all* their bread, as the only bread in the stores was akin to Wonder Bread. Luckily at that point they had shed themselves of offspring and lived miles away from the next villager, so she was able to benefit from the fruits of her own labor. (Good for her!)
She doesn't do bake bread any more, though... too close to reasonably good bakeries to go through the bother, I guess.
Unfortunately, when it comes to bread, I am NOT my mother's daughter.
I can manage a decentish soda bread on occasion, or a muffin or cake now and then, but unfortunately yeasties seem to be more akin to flora (black thumb) than to fauna (animal whisperer) in terms of fondness and lifespan when it comes to me. You can practically hear plants squeaking "Goodbye, Cruel World..." when I approach. Bread will not rise when I breathe the air in which said yeasties (would normally) toot, either, no matter how warm (or not) I render the air, no matter how delightful the spread of sweets I set before them. They simply roll their microscopic eyes and emit hollow sub-decibel laughs as they finish their hunger strikes the hard way.
No surprise that bread is not my friend. I suppose I should be grateful that golden brown loaves don't actually leap upon me in the grocery aisle, flourishing their plastic wrap menacingly as they garrote me with chains made of Twistie Ties...
Um. Yes, I DO need to go pick up the pointy sticks and do a bit of nice, calming knitting. Than you for asking.