Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pumpkin Bread

It's snowing again.

Those of us living in the NorthEast of America have pretty much given in the shovel. Thankfully, we are already on a school vacation, so no need to anxiously wait for the news to tell me to stay in my pajamas. The kids have Netflix and a new set of Legos, so they are all set..

The enforced stay-at-home ness of this Winter has given me some time to bake bread*.  I grew up baking bread at my mother's elbow. She used to make little teddy bear loaves, with eyes and belly buttons made of raisins. I've tried many bread recipes over the years, and a couple of bread making gadgets.  The bread maker broke in one of our moves.  A few loaves had to be tossed out- never risen, hardened lumps of flour and hours of work... Sigh.  But, I kept on, because homemade bread is so worth a few tearful mistakes. Right now I've settled on my trusty stand mixer and a couple of wonderful recipes.

There are three reasons I love to bake bread. The first is that it makes our house smell like heaven. Forget homemade cookies, real estate agents should put a loaf of bread in the oven to sell houses. Baking bread is the best smell in the world- right up there with the top of a newborn baby's head and a garden after a Spring rain.

And then of course, home made bread is the most delicious bread you can eat... hot, slathered in butter and jam.  Yum, um, um... There is nothing better.
his original

But the reason I keep baking bread (because honestly, it is hours of work, and requires muscle, patience, timing and some luck) is because it connects me to people I loved who are gone, but for some handwritten notes on their recipes. My great-grandmother baked bread, my great-grandfather baked bread, my god-father baked bread. I have my great grandmother's cookbook, with its quaint measurements for lard. I have my god-father's pumpkin bread recipe, which he baked nearly every week, by hand because that is how hard work is done. (He would scoff at my electric stand mixer.)

my update
Time for me to go shovel again... but my reward awaits, bread, warm and beautiful from the oven and the generations before me...

* Obviously our family is not gluten-free. If I told my kids we were no longer eating bread they would start packing their bags immediately. 

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