Sunday night we went over to my parents’ after church, for dinner and sleeping over and sledding in the snow the next day. It is at my mother’s table in my father’s house that I get upset and angry enough to cry over — sometimes the injustices in the world, yes, but too often — my first-world problems that obscure the feelings of gratitude I overflow with on other days. Dad waxed upset over the media portrayal of Mitt’s Mormonism, and Tom said my dad gets the same tone of passionate indignation (I think Tom meant ranty over-emotion, but I am interpreting that as “passionate indignation”) that I do when provoked. I have transferred my choked (but articulate) disbelief to our dinner table, and it was Tom’s misfortune to remind me thusly of last week’s diatribe’s inducement.
It was a family newsletter, the sort you get in the mail around the holidays, detailing the past year’s achievements and, if you’re lucky, a couple cute kid quirks.
This letter touted male career accomplishment/endeavor and barely mentioned female preoccupation with trivial things. It made me want to cut someone, and that someone was myself, because I sometimes feel so . . . I don’t know: guilty/resentful/ashamed/defensive that I am a mother and homemaker and housewife and . . . nothing else. I mean, professionally-speaking.
(On good days I am grateful/thrilled/humbled/content to be able to spend all of my time raising my daughters and making a home. On the good days I know it is a worthy and (even more importantly) interesting endeavor, with plenty of scope for the imagination. On every day, if brought to the point, I know I could not take my attention off my baby for any sustained period of time at this point, and I know that once she is grown (a milestone to be determined at a later date), I will be investing a good chunk of that attention elsewhere without prohibitive regret.)
So today (and here is where this post makes a screeching-on-two-wheels right turn at the last minute before we miss the turnoff), I got a package from Amazon that was like a missionary barrel and Christmas morning when you’re ten all at once.
It was my new Pullman/pain de mie bread pan that Marcy was telling me about last weekend, the day after our fateful discussion of Why Being a Homemaker Sounds so Loser-ish Even Among People Who Are Supposed to Value Such Things. (And Marcy, Callie rolls her eyes whenever I start a sentence, “Marcy told me …” or “At Marcy’s house …” She thinks I get all my ideas from you, and since most of the ideas I purposefully pawn off as yours have to do with discipline/organization/chores, etc, she is understandably cautious when things are prefaced with your name. I told her I gave you the idea about Tamale Balls. She was unimpressed, but they were good. Rather less like a tamale, but much more rational in preparation.)
This pan is the answer to my bread prayers, I think. I have made bread off and on and more off in the thirteen years of my wifehood. Mostly because it smells so good and tastes like gold-plated carbs. At one point I thought sourdough was the answer, but after a series of unfortunate accidents with the starter left in a pre-heating oven (in a melting-plastic container) my enthusiasm waned. 5-minute artisan bread was my next infatuation, and it is perfect for accompanying soup meals and making pizza and having on hand for last-minute fancy bread sides, but slowly it started to languish in vaguely-menacing too-wet form in the back of the refrigerator.
Then I finally finished up grinding my storage of red wheat and joined the modern age of hard white wheat. Oh glorious stuff of perfect-texture and crumb! I throw in extra-gluten (I know; how un-hip to be adding gluten to food!) and lecithin, and sometimes a handful of craisins. Yesterday I made a loaf to have some for after-school snack time and for lunches the next day. There was none left by dinner time, and I had to stop at the store for some Harper’s Homemade.
But today brought my Pullman pan, heavy aluminized steel, 13 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches, with a lid to curb the precipitous rise that stops the bread fitting in bags and folding over symmetrically. So far I’ve only made the white flour with butter, milk and potato flakes recipe, but already I can tell: this is it. I even got a special airtight container for storing it.
I am indecently excited about my new bread accoutrements. It’s enough to make a girl forget how incensed she was to see herself as a guardian of the hearth, and nothing more.
*I went a-google-ing for the source of my title and found this article about Henry Eyring. He makes bread too!