Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May brings water to cast bread upon

If I were Garrison Keillor, I'd be writing something like "It's another quiet day here in Chisago County," or perhaps "It's another  quiet, cloudy, overcast, cool, dreary, damp day here in Chisago County, where our typical Spring weather is too often below average." But I'm not G.K. so I won't write that and, although I'd rather be outside in warm sunshine, looking for blooming wildflowers and returning migrant birds, I'll make the best of our weather by trying for a better variation on my craisin-sourdough bread.

sourdough bread loaves
sourdough bread loaves
Photo by J. Harrington

The first two loaves came out good enough to try it again. That time I used up a few opened packages of craisins and a handful of left-over raisins without measuring quantities. The next batch, I overdid the amount of craisins and allowed the dough too much time to rise (the top dried out). They say third time's a charm so we'll see. I've got some dried tart cherries and raisins. I just fed the started this morning and will mix the dough and do the baking tomorrow. The family seems to have a decided preference for sourdough over the artisan bread I started out with. The craisins are intended to add a touch (or maybe a little more) of sweetness as I try a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours in the sourdough mix. Like many (most?) of us. I get tired of doing the same thing or, as my mother used to point out to me, I don't have enough sense to leave well enough alone. That's pretty much always been true of me. Add to that the fact that I feel compelled to check the accuracy of every "wet paint" sign I encounter and life is kept interesting, even in the midst of a spell of dreary, damp, cool weather such as that that I'm not writing about. Finally, for the record, I started messing with bread and sourdough before Michael Pollen kicked interest into high gear with his Netflix series. But, I am still looking forward to reading Cooked. This local foods theme can get addictive.


By W. S. Merwin

for Wendell Berry

Each face in the street is a slice of bread
wandering on

somewhere in the light the true hunger
appears to be passing them by
they clutch

have they forgotten the pale caves
they dreamed of hiding in
their own caves
full of the waiting of their footprints
hung with the hollow marks of their groping
full of their sleep and their hiding

have they forgotten the ragged tunnels
they dreamed of following in out of the light
to hear step after step

the heart of bread
to be sustained by its dark breath
and emerge

to find themselves alone
before a wheat field
raising its radiance to the moon

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Please be kind to each other while you can.