Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Free time

52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect CrustOur bookcenter was closed yesterday to give the sisters a community day and Juan a day off. I took advantage of the opportunity to do two of my favorite things: reading and cooking. In this particular case, baking. And what was I reading about? Baking.

I thoroughly enjoyed William Alexander's book detailing not only his personal "pursuit of a perfect crust" but the history of bread, the processes involved, the tools of the trade, the unexpected aspects of flour production (Wait 'til the TSA finds out that flour dust is highly explosive!) and how the wrong kind of milling process may have decimated the South in the early twentieth century.  I especially enjoyed Alexander's relating of how he ended up in a 7th century Norman monastery, teaching the monks (in French!) how to bake artisan bread--when  he was still figuring that out himself. Oh, and how he grew wheat in his family garden, and ground it (some of it, anyway) with an Indian grinding stone. That part made me laugh out loud. (Now I want to read about his gardening exploits!)

As for me, I'm  not ready to tackle bread (although Alexander really made it tempting). And I'm not above using the community's donated bread machine. In fact, that is exactly what I used to prepare the dough for two projects this weekend, both of which took advantage of the ingredients we received as Christmas gifts. I made a pear-custard dessert (two of them, actually, one prettier than the other, but that's the one that got eaten immediately) and a braided, fruit-filled roll. Which was supposed to come out raised and puffy.

Maybe next time.


Lisa said...

Sister Anne, this reflection really hit home with me in light of my recent attention to cooking and my renewed commitment to reading for self-enrichment and enjoyment.

I am so sorry I missed seeing you on the concert tour. In past years, nothing kept me from getting to one of the concerts and thought that this year I'd make it too, but as things turned out, I just couldn't get there (I even thought about taking the train to the Boston for one). So, I offered up my absence for additional blessings on the concerts.

I hope you are enjoying a Merry Christmas and will have a Blessed New Year.

Peace and all good things!

Anonymous said...

Re baking, etc. What is that gross stuff in the pans

Sr Anne said...

You sound like Sr Helena, Anonymous. She can't stand custard. It's a pear custard tart. Two of them. Well, one and a half by that point.

K T Cat said...

It looks and sounds delicious! If I bring over some Mystic Monk Coffee, can I have a piece?


Sr Anne said...

Great idea, KT!