Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sick Day

It's a gorgeous chilly fall day, and I'm enjoying it all from the couch because I have been struck immobile by a nasty sore throat and achey thing. It's the only time I stop frantically running around, so I try to enjoy the immobility while it lasts before I start getting incredibly antsy. Blah.
Anyhow, it's been a while since I've talked about baking or cooking, and pre-illess yesterday, I made a loaf of the sorta famous "No Knead Bread" that was on all the internet baking circuits about a year ago. We make it on a sorta regular basis here in Braintree. It's incredibly easy, requiring only four ingredients (5 if you count water), and while it involves time for it to rise, it involves little to no work, yet it comes out like something from the fancy bakery. Before I had this recipe, I would occasionally make bread and it was always, well, cakey. Like banana bread but without banana, especially the whole wheat. It made you feel virtuous in a kind of "I made this and it's good for you" way. I think I usually used a Moosewood recipe.

Today as I watched the steam rise off the beautiful interior and admired the crisp crust, it is clear that I would never go back to the old way. I will post a photo as soon as I can find my dumb battery charger that is hiding from me.

I learned to cook with the Moosewood cookbooks. The first thing I cooked was my mom's tuna casserole, with all the Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and some sort of cracker topping. But when I moved to California for grad school into a groovy vegetarian/vegan co-op with 14 other college students, we had to take turns cooking and cook for 14 other people. I loved it. I loved the challenge of coming up with something good, and I liked it when it worked and everyone was excited about what you had made. And I liked it that when you cooked, other people had to clean up. I was (and am) a messy cook. We made lots of casseroles involving millet, chopped tofu, and vegan cheese. We even made a chocolate dessert with tofu and couscous that I still like but no one I know will eat.

I really don't ever cook from Moosewood anymore. Partly because we're not a veggie household. Partly because I've moved on to different cookbooks after finding the Cooks Illustrated world of obsessive test-kitchen yumminess. I still like paging through them and looking at the drawings and seeing the little notes I included ("needs lots more salt and some hot sauce" seems to be the mantra). Funny how your cooking self changes over time.

Back to the couch with me. I'm reading Ethan Canin's newest novel, America, America. It's OK so far. More complicated than I expected. I loved all of his previous stuff. Also reading more art books, and continuing to make art. Yay!

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