The Things Accomplished With The Hands
Once upon a time, there lived a girl from the country. Growing up, she watched her mother sew dresses, bake bread, can veg, and make their own jelly. When she grew up and had a family of her own, she distracted herself from life and having three babies under three by doing many of the things that she grew up watcher her mother do. She decided that her mother didn’t do it because it was cheaper or because she loved doing it, she did it to escape, like some people shop or some people drink.
After I left my last life, swam around trying to find myself like Nemo for a while, and started my new life – I left those things behind. Not necessarily because I didn’t enjoy them or because I didn’t think they were important, but because it represented something really bad to me. It represented my mom, who suffered for over a decade with an illness that took her ability to breathe away. It represented my last marriage, loveless and full of control and abuse. It represented selling myself out in order to make my family happy and to follow what they thought were the right and things were to do. It meant having to have perfection, no emotion, and being a nodding and agreeable Stepford Wife. So I rebelled. I rebelled against homemade food. I rebelled against immaculate housework. I rebelled against everything that was my old life, the things I resented, all of those thing I wish could be changed by some magic time machine that didn’t change the course of the future so much that I didn’t have my current husband, but changed it enough to spare those that needed to be spared.
So you can understand exactly how theraputic yesterday was, mixing flour and yeast and oil and water together, kneeding with my hands, punching out air and kneeding again, when I made the first loaf of homemade bread that I have made in many years. Making it here, in New Orleans, with a different life, a different set of circumstances, with different meaning.
It made me miss somethings – the country, the quite, the security that comes with it and the safety too – it made me appreciate other things, mostly internal things like myself that keep me moving forward, even when I want to stay paused, even when I want to stop, most of all though, when I wish I could simply rewind and edit.
Baking homemade bread – cheaper than therapy and tastes much better
The bread recipe I used:
3 cups flour (white or wheat)
1 package, or 2 teaspoons yeast
1-tablespoon sugar (or brown sugar, or honey)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup of lukewarm water.
First, mix your dry ingredients, and then add oil and water. Stir with a fork or spoon until sticky and stiff.
Turn your dough onto a floured countertop, and knead for a full 5 minutes.
Place your dough back into the bowl and cover with oil, move dough around so all sides are covered.
Place your dough into a warm spot, free of drafts with a cover (such as a table linen, or dishcloth) and let it set for about 2 hours.
After it has set, take it out and “punch” it down to release any built up air inside, knead again.
Place dough into very well greased loaf pans, and let it rise again for about an hour.
Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for roughly 30-40 minutes.