Sunday, August 12, 2018

Combining Two of The Best Things About Life, Bread And Books

I made my first loaf of bread when I was a teenager. Bread baking was not something I learned at my mother's knee. She didn't make bread. None of my relatives made bread. I didn't know anyone who made bread. This was just before making bread became a thing. You couldn't walk into a library back then and pick up something like "The Big Book of Baking Bread." I must have just found a recipe in my mother's one cookbook. I think she only had a bread pan because she used it to make meatloaf that I wasn't fond of.

I have no idea what I was thinking. Why did I make my first quilt back then, too? I don't know. My guess is that I read about baking bread and making quilts in books. Novels.

I have baked a lot of bread over the years. In college I worked summers in a kitchen, for the baker. Later, I baked elaborate tree-shaped and teddy bear-shaped bears at Christmas time. The braided bread with with hard boiled eggs at Easter. Cinnamon rolls. Sticky buns. Lots of those. I made stuffed sandwiches of various kinds. Yes, stromboli. I worked out how to let bread rise overnight so I didn't have to do the kneading and some of the rising the day I wanted to serve the bread to guests. (I didn't want to bake the day before, because, you know, day-old bread.) I've done Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I have a stone for baking. I have  peels for getting bread into and out of the oven. I'm on my third bread machine. I have a baguette pan.

Which brings me to my point.

Baguettes And Books

I was walking through my local grocery store last spring and passed the book section where some children's books were prominently displayed. What do I see, but Nanette's Baguette by Mo Willems? I see that it's a beautiful book. It's shockingly cheap. And it's about bread!

Well, right away, I mean in...stan...taneously, I knew I could do things with that book.

As it turns out, Nanette's Baguette is a terrific story about a trip to a bakery to buy a baguette and the tempting splendors of this marvelous bread. It's a really fun read, particularly if, while reading it, you're eating baguettes. And you have a guest to eat them with.

With the help of that bread machine I mentioned earlier (and my baguette pan) I made baguettes the morning I was expecting company for dinner.

The baguettes were a big hit with my visitor, as was Nanette's Baguette. So much so that I froze the leftover bread, brought out it out the next time he came, and, since the book was still in the dining room, he ate bread, and we read again. (Frozen, reheated baguette is a little limp. Still.)

Love baguettes. Love Nanette.

Today I'm taking part in Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.


Claudia said...

I've also enjoyed bread making for years. Not so much luck with the sourdough type though, having killed more than we want to talk about. I bake with success in a La Cloche pan.

Mae Travels said...

It's always fun to find a good connection with your grandchild, isn't it! My granddaughter was a great fan of Mo when she was younger. Books about bread are so intriguing -- this year I think it's the book Sourdough that's really getting people to bake!

best... mae at