Friday, September 12, 2008

Pure bliss

I inherited it from my grandma (as did my dad): a love of good food and showing love through good food. There are few things I enjoy more, when time permits, than to spend an afternoon in the kitchen creating. This weekend is a holiday weekend in China; classes are canceled on Monday for mid-Autumn day festival. I don't have classes on Tuesday, or Friday, which means I actually have quite the nice break! Things haven't gotten too busy yet, and with students gone for the weekend I've been left with some free time (what a novelty!). One of the comfort foods I always miss in China is fresh, piping hot french bread. The type with crispy crust and a soft center. The Chinese do many things extraordinarily well (we all know this after seeing the opening ceremony). However, bread is not one of those things. It's often dry, too sweet, and just not up to my admittedly picky standards. This week I got the grand idea that I could make french bread for myself (yes, I know, you're saying, 'it took you three years to figure this out?'). So today, with my free time, I set my mind to do exactly that. I've made yeast breads before, but never a baguette, so it was new territory for me. But armed with a recipe from allrecipes (best recipe site on the internet in my opinion!) I felt fairly confident. To me, bread making is strangely therapeutic. The smell of yeast takes me back to grandma's kitchen, and the rhythm in kneading bread is a great stress reliever. While the bread was rising, I also threw together a peach pie for the team. I was blessed with a gorgeous sunset outside of my kitchen window as I worked. By the time I finished the kitchen was covered in a layer of flour, and the sink had a mound of dirty dishes. But that bite of hot, crispy yet chewy, fresh french bread...well, it (and the preparation) was simply pure bliss.

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