With all the brouhaha over my son-in-law Mike’s birthday, the Super Bowl, and leftovers, there was hardly any time for my weekly Let Them Eat Bread Report. But now there’s a slight lull between the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, and it seemed like a good opportunity to make my bread report.
Last week, I gave away two loaves of bread. One, as always, to daughter Shannon and son-in-law Mike. I also gave one to our neighbors Arnie and Judi Stebbins, who live just up the road from us.
There are two major considerations when it comes to bread made with yeast: It takes at least five hours from beginning to end, and the bread is best the first day it’s made, when it’s tender and moist and practically falls apart in your mouth. Now, the bread I make is a pretty good keeper. The day after, it’s still quite moist, and it’s acceptable, albeit a little dry, even two or three days in. But few things can rival the pleasure of eating a slice of bread soon after it has been baked, and I try very hard to give my bread away not long after it has cooled. I don’t always succeed, but that is my goal.
Because my husband, Clif, and I only have one car, this complicates matters when it comes to giving away fresh bread. But, Judi and Arnie live well within walking distance of our house, and once the bread was cool enough to go into a ziplock, my dog, Liam, and I got ready to make a bread delivery.
By this time it was fairly dark, so along with bundling up to walk on a cold February night, I also donned a reflective vest. There are no streetlights or sidewalks on our street, and I thought, what a bummer it would be to get hit delivering bread. I could just see the headlines: Winthrop Woman and Dog Get Clipped on Bread Mission.
Along with wearing a reflective vest, I also carried a flashlight, and right from the start, when the cars gave me and the dog a wide berth, I felt reassured about my visibility. This meant I could enjoy the crisp, twilight walk, which was absolutely beautiful. The sky was not yet black. Instead it was a deep, deep blue, and it seemed to dip over the fields and the woods. One lone star twinkled in that vast blueness, and it was quite a challenge to admire the sky as well as manage the dog, the flashlight, and the loaf of bread, all the while watching out for oncoming cars. Although multi-tasking has developed a bit of a bad, scattered reputation, in this case it was essential, and the dog and I made it to Arnie and Judi’s house without so much as a nick.
Both the dog and I were invited into the cozy white cape, and we chatted a bit before Liam and I headed back down the hill toward home. While we were talking, Arnie cut a piece of bread, buttered it, and ate it. “Good,” he said.
Good, I thought, going home. Good to give fresh bread to neighbors. Good that they will enjoy it. Good to be out on a cold February night. Good to be alive.