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Happy Holidays!

Farine - December 20, 2014 - 2:08pm
We are in the throes of kitchen renovation, which means we haven't had a sink or a stove since the first week of November. I have learned to make dinner on an induction cooktop in the garage (glum!), to scrub veggies and do the dishes in the bathroom sink (cramped!) and to eat out of paper plates (sorry, trees!). We were hoping everything would be finished by early December but it wasn't. Now I am hoping the kitchen will be mostly functional sometime next week. Meanwhile my hopes of baking something in time for a Christmas blogpost have been dashed. Unless I go for microwave baking like this guy? Just kidding...

Anyway I was sorting through old photos on an external hard drive when I happened upon this picture dating back to September 2008. I was in California (already!) visiting our youngest son and his family. We had brought back plums from the farmers market and I had made a tart. While I remember neither how it turned out (there are no post-baking pictures) nor how it tasted, I love the way it looks pre-oven.

To me it suggests an old mosaic gently swept with an archeologist's brush. Perhaps a tile found in the ruins of an ancient Roman kitchen. Buried in dust and ruble and unattended for centuries.

Suddenly brought to light and glowing from within, it speaks of the ages. It set me thinking of Christmases past, of the faces once gathered around the holiday table. I have always found it a sad comment on the human condition that the persons we love the most as grown-ups so rarely get to meet the ones that meant the most to us as children. There is little comfort in the image of Time as an endless chain of which each of us can only see so many links because it begins and ends in darkness. If a family could exist outside of Time, I like to think it would form a mosaic. The patterns might vary from one family member to the next and each of us might interpret the story differently but we would still all get the whole picture and be the richer -and maybe the wiser- for it.

Time being unescapable, we are left with the chain. Which will never make a mosaic no matter how many times we try to coil it upon itself.

Still some of the light is carried over from one generation to the next. Not so much in the stories we tell about a long departed great-grandparent -although the kids clearly love hearing them- but in the way we tell them or even in the simple fact we tell them at all. When my dad retired, he spent a couple of years writing the history of our family. What started as a simple memoir turned into three volumes plus a fourth one, a year later, in which he collected his and my mom's favorite recipes (always a passionate eater, he had turned into a passionate cook in his old age). He had the pages typed (he wrote in longhand), added scores of old photos and documents, had it all photocopied and collated and gave a copy to each of his children and grandchildren. It makes for very interesting reading and it illuminates a part of the chain that would now be in complete darkness were it not for his efforts.

I love it that he -and my mom who helped out- cared enough to do it.

There are no stories of Christmas in these memoirs. We did celebrate when we were kids. It just wasn't as major an event as today. It wasn't as commercial either. At least not in France. Not then.

Christmas acquired a different aura when I met my mother-in-law who was Danish and for whom December 24 was the most important day of the year. The Danes know a thing or two about light and she knew a thing or two about family. She had had a very interesting life (she was born in St. Petersburg to a Russian mom who died giving birth when she was three, was raised by a stepmom she loved, fled Russia at the time of the Revolution, spoke several languages, was so beautiful than men vied for her hand in marriage, married a foreigner, visited pre-Castro Cuba, moved to Switzerland, then after the war, to Paris, etc. ).  But although she shared a few details, she was the quiet type and not a born storyteller. Hers is a different kind of legacy. One I cherish very much.

The holiday season has become painful since Noah died. But the kids love it. So we make it a happy time for them. Some are still young enough to believe in Santa, others like to hold on to childhood a while longer by pretending they still do. Either way they clearly feel the magic and that's as should be.

As for me, having learned over the years that nothing is more important, I am content with spending time with family, friends, and pets, and grateful for our connected world which makes it possible to video-visit the ones who live far away.

And if the kitchen works out, I'll bake something. Not a plum tart (this is December after all) but maybe one of my mother-in-law's favorite holiday dish, a salmon koulibiac. My way to conjure her presence at the table. Plus our son's own mother-in-law loves koulibiac as well. As do we. Maybe one of our common grandkids will remember that one day and make it part of his or her Christmas lore.

See how the chain gets forged...

Happy holidays to all!































Categories: Blogs, The Bread Feed

The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Del.icio.us bread feed - December 20, 2014 - 8:56am
Categories: Links

Mr. Smith's: worst-kept secret, best-made bread - Vermillion Plain Talk

Google News Bread Feed - December 20, 2014 - 8:12am

Mr. Smith's: worst-kept secret, best-made bread
Vermillion Plain Talk
"The best bread in the world is not in Paris,” Amy Bloom of 'Oprah Magazine' wrote. “It's not in San Francisco, and it's not being made in some chic little bakery/art gallery in SoHo either. The best bread in the world is waiting for you right at the ...

Categories: News

Homemade crescent rolls perfect for the novice bread baker - Jamestown Sun

Google News Bread Feed - December 20, 2014 - 5:07am

Jamestown Sun

Homemade crescent rolls perfect for the novice bread baker
Jamestown Sun
FARGO -- Baking fresh bread has been one of my food resolutions for the past several years, but up until last week I was too intimidated by the process to even know where to begin. Fortunately, my mother started a tradition of making homemade crescent ...

Categories: News

2004 Tsunami: A Crying Boy With a Piece of Bread - ABC News

Google News Bread Feed - December 19, 2014 - 10:30pm

2004 Tsunami: A Crying Boy With a Piece of Bread
ABC News
Later that day, Sri Lankan volunteers, in conjunction with a Christian missionary, delivered some bread to the suffering group by truck. I saw a boy holding his father's hand as he tearfully bit into a piece of bread, his first food in who knows how long.

and more »
Categories: News

Truly D'vine Bread Co. opens its doors - Times Bulletin

Google News Bread Feed - December 19, 2014 - 9:07pm

Times Bulletin

Truly D'vine Bread Co. opens its doors
Times Bulletin
A new bakery is opening in Van Wert. Truly D'vine Bread Co. held a sneak peek open house Friday evening at its location in downtown Van Wert. The bakery will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday, December 20. Santa Claus will be visiting ...

and more »Google News
Categories: News

Farmers Market manager, executive director for Bread Riot hired - Salisbury Post

Google News Bread Feed - December 19, 2014 - 9:02pm

Salisbury Post

Farmers Market manager, executive director for Bread Riot hired
Salisbury Post
Eric Bowen has been hired as the first executive director for Bread Riot and will also manage the Salisbury Farmers Market. The search attracted a lot of qualified candidates, said Capri Brixey, outgoing president of Bread Riot. “We were very ...

Categories: News

Chard-Stuffed Flat Bread - San Francisco Chronicle

Google News Bread Feed - December 19, 2014 - 1:33pm

San Francisco Chronicle

Chard-Stuffed Flat Bread
San Francisco Chronicle
You can get serious and make your own dough, but this creation works just as well with store-bought pizza dough (you'll need about 2 pounds). Make it vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta (add salt and pepper to taste in that case), or keep it dairy ...

Categories: News

At Chroma, cream puffs, brew bread and empanadas - Press & Sun-Bulletin

Google News Bread Feed - December 19, 2014 - 12:01pm

Press & Sun-Bulletin

At Chroma, cream puffs, brew bread and empanadas
Press & Sun-Bulletin
As if this weren't enough, there's also the bread. The styles change daily and range drastically in flavor profile; Nancy favors the oat bread, while Heath's favorite is a chocolate cherry bread, a white bread with milk and semi-sweet chocolates and ...

Categories: News

How to Make Nutella Chocolate Star <b>Bread</b> - Christmas Treat <b>...</b>

Google Blog Search - December 19, 2014 - 11:38am
Nutella Chocolate Star Bread. You can use a brioche recipe for the dough or try my simple short cut. Delicious and simple to make. Impress your friends and f...
Categories: Blogs

The beauty of the bread basket - The Week Magazine

Google News Bread Feed - December 19, 2014 - 11:21am

The Week Magazine

The beauty of the bread basket
The Week Magazine
Sometime between opening the menu and patiently waiting for the appetizer, a basket may arrive at your dinner table. It might be filled with hot-from-the-oven slabs of sourdough accompanied by chive-flecked butter, or, under more unfortunate ...

Categories: News

YeastSpotting 12.18.14

Wild Yeast Blog - December 18, 2014 - 10:31pm

Be inspired, bake, share, repeat.

Loaves and Rolls, First Batch Loaves and Rolls, Second Batch Flat Breads, Sweet Breads, and More YeastSpotting is a periodic collective showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. For more bread inspiration, and information on how to submit your bread, please visit the YeastSpotting archive.

© Wild Yeast, 2014. | Permalink | No comment

Categories: Blogs, The Bread Feed

tunedwindchime.com

Del.icio.us bread feed - December 18, 2014 - 3:03pm
Categories: Links

farmflavor.com

Del.icio.us bread feed - December 18, 2014 - 2:04pm
Categories: Links

Brödkaka - Julbrödkaka - scones

Del.icio.us bread feed - December 18, 2014 - 1:24pm
Categories: Links

One Woman is Cooking Up Homemade Soup and Bread on the Farm - KXNet.com

Google News Bread Feed - December 18, 2014 - 10:48am

KXNet.com

One Woman is Cooking Up Homemade Soup and Bread on the Farm
KXNet.com
(Sarah Heinrich / KX News) "Customers have the choice between 2 different options they can either choose a 1/2 share which is a quart of soup and a 1/2 a loaf of bread or they can do the full share. Which is a 1/2 gallon of soup and a full loaf of bread."

Categories: News

Recipes: 14 of our favorite bread pudding recipes - Los Angeles Times

Google News Bread Feed - December 18, 2014 - 10:01am

Recipes: 14 of our favorite bread pudding recipes
Los Angeles Times
Some bread puddings are sweet, some are savory enough for dinner. Whichever route you choose, it's the very definition of comfort food. We pored over the L.A. Times Test Kitchen's archives for some of our favorite bread pudding recipes. So grab a spoon ...

Categories: News

Bread — in Case You Missed it! - HottyToddy.com

Google News Bread Feed - December 18, 2014 - 8:25am

HottyToddy.com

Bread — in Case You Missed it!
HottyToddy.com
One of the greatest soft rock groups of all time, Bread, is one of those groups whose music never loses its listening enjoyment. For those of us who were either not around in the '70s or cannot recall the decade for whatever reason, you might want to ...

Categories: News

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