I’ve been really into drying flowers lately. Actually, I let them wilt in the vase and then dry them. Lovely.
I fried an egg for my daughter today. The yolk was too mushy, it hurt her, she said. And the white, too crunchy. This is just in case any of you are still reading this for cooking advice: wrong blog, maybe. Not that it was actually crunchy. But she did cry a little.
I have two new subscribers since I last posted. Welcome! We are a sinking ship, but I occasionally still move the furniture.
I’ve been considering what kind of bread post to post for a long time. For the last year bread has been one of my most serious projects, the only intellectually demanding food project I have been constantly engaged in over that time. Yet readers would not know it. The problem is this: when I start chewing on a food project, from the first day I look for principles, I look to understand the thing that recipes are variations on, and then once I think I have a thing figured out more or less, or at least to a useful level, I often try to put it into pithy little bullet points and publish them here. I have done this with bread—the pith. I have circulated this pith among friends, I have engaged in lengthy hands-off tutorials, and yet, by and large, I’ve been shown up a fraud. The best show of this is what comes from my own kitchen. While I have baked some of the best bread I’ve ever eaten—and not for lack of having eaten widely and well of bread—it’s been a while now since any loaf of mine has come close to that. I get cocky, I think I understand something, and without even being consciously aware of having changed anything, I find that for three weeks I can’t even get my bread to rise properly—takes me three weeks to even figure out what I changed. This has happened, like, five times. So my principles are garbage. Often this is true: I am less enamored of this systematization than I have been, more inclined to take careful notes and view all these things, phenomena, objects, in isolation. Facets, if you will. Recipes, even. A thing is a thing, after all, more than it is an idea.
So, this week I am not going to push bread making on you. For a change. Having really good bread around for the price of flour and fuel has changed the way I eat, has given meaning to the fairly ridiculous term staff of life, even. A really good loaf, you can eat half of it with butter and call it a pretty good dinner—you can eat half a loaf before dinner without even really noticing if you’re not careful. In fact, that may be a passible definition of a good loaf. Most bread sits heavy in my stomach, is suitable for a piece or two as filler. Really good bread is food, is a thing you can live on.
Maybe in another year or two of close study I’ll be nailing it more than once every couple months.
Here is an ugly blog. It contracted something; ugly. Website maintaining friends: take heed and back up. We at foutu, bloodied, busy, vain—we fear this apology and place holder may have to stand in awhile in place of new content. We fear, as often, the temptation to begin again: to thin and file this blog and quit as so long promised this proselytizing snivelling food writing and write affectedly about something else, of less interest. That might be really nice actually.
The hiatus is largely due to the death of my vintage laptop last January. A blog is not worth much without a computer, time (new child), or dedication. Perhaps the next year will see me with a personal computer again, and perhaps then I’ll post more hereâ€”though I’m imagining the content will be less narrowly focused. I’m tired of talking about food and sustainability. Everybody is talking about food and sustainability. It hurts my brain.
That said, my latest obsession is beekeeping. Beekeeping theory, actually, as I’ve never yet kept bees, nor spent more than a few minutes hanging out with one. But for weeks now, when I’ve not been reading The Sot-Weed Factor, or a high-school electronics textbook from 1991, (really), I’ve been stripping my local libraries and going cross-eyed on the internet, reading about beekeeping theory. In case you’re the sort of person who believes that obsessive research without practical experience by someone like myself is of some value, and you take any interest in bees, I suggest you take a look at the Bush Farms beekeeping siteâ€”after much outlandish consideration this guy has me sold.
but can’t find trowel, pruning shears, or half of kitchen. Garden almost from scratch, orchard hasn’t been worked in at least sixty yearsâ€”looks like something out of Grimm. Forthcoming. Many things, perhaps.
and it will be back, in a slightly more reasonable form, perhaps shortly.
gurgles like my stomach. Maybe we’ll get some posts up around here, now.