So I'm on this new program called the "Make-Two-Loaves-of-Banana-Nut-Bread-Eat-Them-Both-And-Gain-Fifteen-Pounds-in-One-Day-Diet." And it really works!
I don't understand why I have an insatiable craving for bread lately, banana nut bread in particular. Bread (next to chocolate and watermelon) is my all time favorite food, and baking it from scratch and eating it fresh out the oven is one of my all time favorite ways to go up a pant's size - I mean, to enjoy it with some butter. I think the biggest reason for this feeding frenzy lately is (no, I'm not pregnant) I quit smoking not too long ago, and I promised myself that I could eat anything I want as long as I don't smoke. And I've made the most out of this offer. Gallons of coffee have been guzzled, mounds of homemade chocolate chip cookies have been consumed, empty ice cream bowls have been stacked in the sink after killer "Moose Tracks" cravings, and loaf after loaf of banana nut bread (with raisins!) have been devoured. No, damn it, I'm not pregnant!
I know I could go out and buy a pack of cookies, or individually plastic-wrapped slices of my favorite bread from Starbucks or PJ's, but it wouldn't be the same as baking it myself. I'm not saying I'm the best baker, it's just that I grew up with my dad baking everything from scratch and so I'm used to a certain level of quality when it comes to breads and desserts. In other words, I'm spoiled. I, like my father, have begun to turn my nose up a boxed muffin mixes and Bisquick. Sure, you can get pancakes out of Bisquick, but where's the love? Where's the crunch of a tiny bit of eggshell that got left in the batter? Where's the sour taste due to a baking soda mishap?
Everybody, even some of the worst-off kids I knew growing up, has atleast one warm memory of childhood. One of mine is how I would wake up in the morning to the sound of the coffee grinder. My dad would ground the coffee and then fifteen minutes later or so I could smell the coffee cake, pancakes, muffins, or buttermilk biscuits he was fixing up. It would get me out of bed.
Now it's the thought of coffee gets me out of bed. And I use the same damn grinder because Chris and I bought the house I grew up in, and the grinder (along with many other items) came along with the deal. But living in the house and the neighborhood I grew up in is another blog for another time.
I'm still trying to bake like my dad. When Chris and I first got married Dad gave me the James Beard on Bread book that he'd used for years, and I started to practice baking. But then I got pregnant with our first baby, and I was too tired to experiment with bread. And a year and a half after that I was pregnant again. And then nine months after our second baby, I was onto our third. So I stopped baking for a long, long time, and instead I practiced feeding the babies, changing the babies, learning how to function on two hours of broken sleep, and crying. Somewhere in all of that madness I finished three first-draft books. Don't ask me how. I..I just don't know. All three of them are lying in my closet and need LOTS of work, but it was from writing them that I learned enough to write this 4th one. But, again, another blog for another time.
Anyway, now that the kids are 5, 6, & 8, and like actual real kids who can do many things on their own, I find myself again with time to do something besides diaper children and pray for sanity. So I've begun to bake again. Chris, the kids, and the dog who likes to eat out of the trash are very happy with this development. This morning Emma and I made buttermilk bluberry muffins and they were intensely fluffy and delicious.
Great. Now I'm hungry again. Perhaps there's a a loaf of something in the pantry.