All in One Day: bread, butter, cheese, forgiveness

Mixed: 9:45 pm

Molded: 6 am next day

Baked in two batches–one at 7:15 am and another at 8:15 am.

Off to church at 9:30 am with three loaves of very cheesy bread

At our church, following morning Liturgy every Sunday, we all file outside and enjoy a time of chatting, and the kids running all over the grass, and sometimes we munch on donuts or potato salad, or carrots dipped in hummus. But on Forgiveness Sunday the coffee hour table is all about cheese. It’s our last chance to eat dairy until Pascha and so that’s what we do!

I volunteered to make bread for the table, since they wanted a table of breads, cheeses, veggies and such, so I dove in the night before and had such fun.

Side note: Since we leave for church at 9:30 on Sunday mornings, if I’m ever called on to make fresh bread for my fellow church-goers, I begin a no-knead mix the night before. This easily gives me extra hours of sleep. I would have to rise at 4:30 am if I wanted to do the whole process–from mixing to kneading to rising to molding to rising to baking–and have two batches of bread ready when we leave all dressed and spiffy-looking for church… The no-knead recipe allows me to mix the dough the night before and mold the bread at 6 am the following morning.

Anyway, on Saturday night, I rifled through our cheese drawer in the fridge and decided to use every bit of cheese there. Pecorino, Dubliner Irish, and Parmesan, all three were grated clear to the rind; I even had to call in the Capo Chef to help because my hand was cramping… My husband, “Are you SURE you need this much cheese?” Me, “Yes.” So he grated and grated and I scooped every last morsel of cheese into my three mixing bowls.

Oh, the scent of bread and cheese that floated through our home Sunday morning. My husband, “Are you SURE we need to take all three loaves to church? Can’t we just leave ONE here?” Me, “No.” We left for church hoping coffee hour might come soon.

Thankfully, the Liturgy speeds you away to other worlds–to worlds of mystery and the holy foods of bread and wine–and who cares about coffee hour then!

But once the cross is kissed–EVERYONE cares about coffee hour. Someone even got inventive with one loaf of the bread and made pizza out of it.

It was a beautiful morning, but I tell you, the day didn’t end there. More baking, and more giving and more church was still to come.

Home to a quick nap and a little picking up of the house. A bit of reading, then… chocolate shortbread. Really, getting the cheese and the butter out of the house was a snap. Grate all the cheese into bread, and bake all the butter into cookies. After Lent, I’ll post the recipe of chocolate shortbread cookies that I make every now and again. I refuse to make them often because that just wouldn’t be wise, but they are scrumptious. Made with only cocoa, flour, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and one egg yolk, not many nutritionists would recommend this cookie being in a regular diet.

I mixed and pulled out the cookie cutters and baked up little hippo and heart cookies, wrapping several in a brown bag for my goddaughter and her family, and few more for whoever I happened to come across while at church. Because… back to church we went.

Forgiveness Vespers is one of my favorite services of the year. The church community gathers Sunday evening, on the very precipice of Great Lent, and we worship together. At the conclusion of the service we all file past one another, bow, cross ourselves, then ask: “Forgive me, a sinner.” We hug, and kiss cheeks, and the mood is truly blessed–light and yet full of truth and the importance of clearing away any relational cobwebs that may have gathered over the last year. I got to hug a whole kaleidoscope of people last night!

Oh, but I won’t forget about the cookies. We gave a bag of cookies to my goddaughter, as planned, and then another bag to a homeless man who was munching down a handful of potato chips.

Blessed.

Clean.

And in case you weren’t one of the kaleidoscope of folks that I kissed cheeks with last night…

Forgive me, a sinner.