Hang In There Bread

I spotted my priest, Father Nicholas, spooning strawberry jam onto a store bought white thing that resembled bread. That was midday Monday. That was his lunch…

It’s Wednesday and I’ve been thinking about that moment ever since. When I realized I’d have a few hours to bake today, I knew who needed a fresh ring of rosemary rolls, and a jar of homemade kumquat marmalade (so good!). He’s an incredible faster, that man, but I don’t want him to tumble from the altar with so many services left to go!

[Be Gone–you old, preservative-filled white bread, kept in the church refrigerator!]

Rosemary rolls, and kumquat marmalade–to be handed over after unction tonight.

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It’s Holy Week for us Orthodox–blessings to all of you who are in the midst of this beauty.

For those in Fort Collins, our old home town, digging out from the snow storm–I send you good wishes for an AMAZING summer (in which all of your vegetables grow enormous and every day brings sun and respite).

And to the rest of you lovely folk, near and far–Cheers and happy baking and giving!

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Sourdough Swap

My parents have moved to Santa Barbara and it’s the first time since I was eighteen that I’ve been this blessed to have these two generous and interesting people so nearby!

My mom marvels at the fact that I make jams, sew Dr Seuss shorts, and bake bread, while I marvel at the fact that she can do a crossword puzzle in about five minutes flat. She’s a whiz. The other day, because she says she wants to learn some new hobbies (she’s also taking calligraphy from Carla!), she came over and we tackled another batch of homemade kumquat marmalade together.

Back up. We have a lovely, healthy kumquat tree in our front yard, and some years it fruits like crazy, but this year. 😦 hmmm. Nothing. So, for the second time this season I raided my neighbor’s tree. They don’t like kumquats. (Are they crazy?!!!) And I do.

I set my mom to de-seeding, while I flipped between subtraction problems with John Ronan, the laundry, and chopping cut kumquats. She’s a worker, that mom of mine. Five cups of chopped kumquat later, a cup of local honey and a bit of water and we raced to shut the doors to keep out the bees. Bees seem to know where the honey is, I’ve found, and don’t mind trying to get back that which we sneak from their hives.

I know this because four bees came into my home to inspect the pot last week during Kumquat Marmalade Number One.

Mom sliced, I chopped, and only a little while later we were ladling marmalade into jars and canning them in my big red pot.

Back up even more.

The same day as the marmalade, I baked off the MOST beautiful loaf of sourdough I have ever made. If I didn’t think it was obnoxious, I would have typed all of that in caps. I mean, beautiful. So, as my mom was leaving, after all her hard work of picking out those dastardly seeds from inside a tiny citrine fruit, I offered her my best–my most beautiful. Plus a jar of marmalade. She taught me how to share when I was just a wee one. And here I am, still working on it in her midst.

Cheers to all of you, and I’d love to know what you’ve been either snitching from your neighbor’s tree, or cooking in your big red pot 🙂

Heartfelt

One loaf of Molasses Bread

Mixed, molded and baked on Monday afternoon.

Gave to: Well, tried to give to Sparky’s mama, but it ended up at the corner house.

We’ve lived on this street in Santa Barbara for many years now. We love this neighborhood for many reasons, and one of them has been Sparky, a beautiful and docile white shepherd who was built to gallop and lope with those lovely long legs of his. Sparky adored lounging in our neighbor’s front room, which has a floor to ceiling window that faces the street. He would peek his head out of the closed curtain and secretly watch all that passed by in his regal way.

Well, Sparky was put down not too long ago. His owner, C, loved that dog–we loved him–and it was hard to say goodbye.

My daughter said the other day, “We need to bring C some bread!” And I thought that was a fine idea. So, I baked up two loaves of molasses bread and Madeleine and I shuffled across the street to offer the bread and our condolences. We talked on the front porch for a long while, but the bread stayed in our hands–turns out, like so many others these days, C’s trying a diet that’s free of wheat.

So, I promised her some kumquat marmalade (which I just made yesterday) and we scooted next door to our dear friends on the corner, who are also bread lovers and eaters.

I’m so grateful for my daughter’s heart–that she thought of this giving and not me. Shows that this idea of sharing isn’t mine alone, and that as a community we can make our little street an eensy scooch more connected, sharing our sorrows, our loaves of bread, and our kumquat marmalade– together.