...who, I think, lost.
*This is probably the closest I will get to quilting, though it's really not that because it's just the patches without the quilting. Whatever this is, this is the closest I'm likely to get to it.
That being said, sometimes ya just gotta have white bread. And that’s the case with my cinnamon swirl bread.2
I admit kneading bread is one of the best things about bread making. My stand mixer has a dough hook that does a perfectly adequate job of kneading and I could allow it to do its thing while I go on with something else. But instead I knead all my bread by hand, a kind of cook’s treat. And, while I get great satisfaction each week working with the nubby texture of the whole grain dough, there is nothing like the silky satisfaction of pure white dough and the fact that the completed product really does, as the books say, feel like a pudgy baby’s behind.
I know the fiber purists and health food people are typing their fingers to a nub in their enthusiasm to deliver “The Only Cinnamon Swirl Whole Grain Recipe That Is Wonderful,” and I’m sure it is. But it still won’t be as good as a cinnamon swirl made with homemade white bread.
“B-b-b-but,” I can hear you sputter, “it’s healthy,” and yes, it certainly is. However, sometimes you need a better reason to eat something, and I can’t think of anything worth risking your very life for than cinnamon swirl white bread. Besides, God save us all from extremists in all their forms, but especially food extremists who, I think, don’t like to eat to begin with.
If it’s any consolation, my standard bread recipe makes two loaves and the second loaf of my cinnamon swirl is delivered to my in-laws, where it probably lasts considerably longer than it does around here.
1My pantry has, on occasion, seen that familiar white bag with colorful balloons all over it, illicitly purchased by Heir 2 who calls it “bread.” I usually end up throwing most of it away when, seven months later, it finally starts to mold.
2 This post is in no way meant to imply that everyone should be baking their own bread or that all bread made outside your home is a menace to the public health. I enjoy making bread and, frankly, when you do it enough, it’s no more work than throwing in a load of laundry. I’m sorry if this puts a snag the veil of magic that some homemakers have spread over the task as though this is the real litmus test connoting the coziness and affability of your home. Nothing spoils the atmosphere of a home like trying to accomplish something you didn't really want to do, which is the case with most acts of domestic derring-do. Do them if you want to, not because you have to.
Today, for the first time since I was a child, I am wearing all new underwear.
No, I’m not trying to be provocative, really I’m not. I think any mom can tell you that, while the rest of the family receives a regular delivery of fresh underwear, we will pin, tack, darn and patch ours until it disintegrates. Our underwear doesn’t get thrown away; it just dissolves in the laundry.
This is not a martyrdom issue – at least not for me. For some reason I have a sense of pride knowing that my Jockeys have outlasted three administrations and most of a fourth.
And there is a certain security in underwear that has been broken in, so one does not make lightly the decision to purchase new.
I have very strict criteria for my everyday underwear. First and foremost, the panties have to be cotton and no elastic can touch my skin. I’ll admit, I do have lacy nylon abominations that I trot out every now and again for special occasions (i.e., when I’m going to be uncomfortable anyway with heels on my shoes and a body smoother), but for the most part give me the breathability of cotton any day.
Unfortunately for me, brassieres must be of the underwire variety because I actually need a bra. I know there is the school of thought that, if you just let the girls travel south you can tuck them into your waistband and look flat-chested or, in my case, like a potato. No, I’m not quite ready to look like Jane Darwell. So my bras are engineering miracles of gravity-defying construction and a wonder to behold, rather like the
This weekend I came to the conclusion that what was left of my underwear wardrobe was rather embarrassing and I no longer had a single set of underwear I could wear to leave the house that was presentable “in case of an accident.” And so I bought new underwear.
Which means, you would think, that I could now throw away the worst of the old underwear.
You’d think that wouldn’t you?
But I should stick to my own continent, I suppose. In this house, when the heat pump is on, I wear my fingerless mitts just to read. But it must be something appropriate to the fashion, because you just know you’d never survive in the House of Seven Gables without the proper knitwear. (Don’t you just love the name Hepzibah? This is probably why God saw fit to give me only sons because I would so want to give my daughter the name Hepzibah, though what I would call her, I don’t know. Hep? Bah? Hepsy?)
I took a sabbatical from Evening Breeze to knit these up. They must be very quick for me to finish them in the same season I started them. But, then, I was highly motivated.
Heat pumps are energy efficient and I am grateful for the heat pump and the house it serves. I cannot say that loud enough to be sure the gods of fate hear me. I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY HOME AND ITS HEAT PUMP, DO YOU HEAR ME? NO NEED TO SMITE ME FOR LACK OF GRATITUDE.
But, between you and me, heat pumps will never make you toasty warm. And my extremities tend to be in a state of frostiness anyway. I can spend all my time sitting next to the fireplace (eating gruel or something. Isn’t that what you do when you sit next to a fireplace?), which would only work if the washer was right there also and all the dust and dog hair only accumulated there and I could cook there. But they don’t so I don’t. And so, the fingerless mitts.
Fortunately they are only needed when the temperature is above freezing. When the temperature outside dips below freezing, the imp in our heating system gets chilly and says, “Heck with this – I’m turning on the heat.” Then the real heater kicks on.
Let me reiterate that I am in no way complaining about this system. Nor am I complaining about cold weather because I love the extremes of each and every season and would go insane if I didn’t experience them. (I remember visiting a friend in
I considered embellishing the mitts with embroidery, but somehow that would be too much gilding for something with such Puritanical New England practicality.