One of my favorite stories from the 20th Century was actually about a time long ago – a time not even in our own historic annals, but one in the realm of fantasy.
The author? John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who, as you might know, created one of the richest, most intriguing landscapes ever in his lovely, lush books.
The place I dream of the most?
The House of Elrond: the Last Homely House, east of the Sea, in Rivendell.
I’ve “borrowed” this eponym for my house in SE Portland: the Homely Home. It’s also east of the sea and I’m having a wonderful time settling in.
Brushing off one of my long-lost skills has been great fun!
On last writing, the "feeding" of the sourdough starter was done; it was nice and ready – bubbly & tasty.
So, off to the mixing bowl it went using this recipe.
Now, I have to admit, I am Very Rusty – no mad skillz here! I was just trying to get in touch with my memories from way back and just went with the flow.
Remembering the way the dough handled, its texture, the steps…
I followed my instincts and as you can see in the steps above I ended up with a: LOAF!
Now, I must say, there’s great satisfaction here (and it is yummy…) but I actually can’t wait to make it again.
While the bread was baking, I went in search of my Christmas ornaments. I say in search, because there is still much mystery in the boxes around here, many of which I did not pack myself. While digging in a box marked "Knitting Books" I found my cookbooks, including my beloved natty ratty decades old JOY OF COOKING.
So with a cuppa tea, I sat down and de-briefed my baking skills using the chapter on making bread in the Joy.
Looking (& slicing) the first edition, I see where I can make some real improvements.
– use less flour (my dough was too stiff and not elastic enough). Remember: the recipe usually tells you to add in increments for a reason. :)
– knead just until you get a nice elasticity and smoothness
– [investigate how to] prepare the loaf for the last rising (I did this really weirdly)
– don’t let it raise too much! I think my loaf was a little flat but I can also see the dip in the raw loaf pan shot.
But let me end by saying the Homely Home smelled so wonderful and eating the warm bread with a piece of really dark chocolate might’ve been one of my most favorite moments ever…
the Homely Home Part 4: the Smell of Baking Bread December 18, 2012
the Homely Home Part 3: it’s alive December 12, 2012
Long ago, when time was slow(er) and lavish in my life, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen.
It was here that I think the Seed of Crafty was actually planted.
At an early age, I learned to cook, and at 10, I would come home from school and make dinner for a family of 6.
Cooking has a lot in common with crafting. There’s processes to learn, ingredients to combine, steps to take that lead, hopefully, to a happy plate.
I’ve always enjoyed it and much later, my friends told me they loved to watch me in the kitchen because there was nothing wasted in my efforts: fast and furious, they say, and ready to sample the goods. Methinks this was because when I was a cooking child, I wanted to play and the sooner the chores were done, the sooner the fun could resume (and what “kid” doesn’t love to lick the spoong!).
Now, much later on the timeline, I seem to have come full circle, or at least back to where taking one’s time can actually add to the goodness of the result.
And, even though the kitchen in this house is very small and can’t even fit a complete table, it can still work it.
In fact, it feels very cozy to make things here then take them into the dining room to eat.
In my many travels, it seems like the dining room in most of the homes I’ve been in is more of a Special Event Area of some sort that only gets enlisted a handful of times during the year.
In this house, there’s nowhere else to go! (Although I do enjoy sitting at the twee table on the stool with a cup of warm of some kind.
But something was missing with my coffee or tea and another craft from my past has resumed.
When I was a young woman, twenty-ish or so, I loved to bake.
Most favorite thing on the menu: Bread.
And here adventure (or folly) begins…
To boldly go: Sourdough starter a cookin’ in its jar.
I think it has about 2 days more to go/grow – off to find a recipe!
If you’ve got one, please share!!
the Homely Home Part 2: more news December 7, 2012
Putting together my new knitting “micro environment” has been a real blast!
What are the bottom-line essentials in this stitching habitat?
Good lighting ( picture window / or elbow-armed floor lamp)
Amusing media ( netflix or itunes or gasp, antenna TV)
Coffee, tea or snacks! ( kitchen pantry just steps away!)
But missing? Really comfy seating~!
Now my olde leather couch is a pretty and stable work-horse. But it was just so rigid! In its previous house, it was used more like a soft chaise – with feet almost up and body perpendicular to the cushions.
Here it is straight on to the rest of the room and while knitting, I felt somehow like I was back in Sunday School, trying to stop sliding around on that miserable wooden pew. (Ever wonder why they call ’em “pew”? More like PU – get me outta here!)
Any way all that’s changed now. (Phew.)
If it’s possible to have a crush on a piece of furniture, GUILTY!
From the textured cheetah upholstery to the little Louis the whatever turned wooden legs, I’m in love!
And my legs, feet and back are saying “thanks, I needed that…”
(gratuitous holiday WIP added for actual knitting content.)