Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Start of Something Great

As I was growing up, my dad always took Tuesdays off. He would spend the day relaxing and doing a whole bunch of nothing. Except he always seemed to find a way to make bread. He always made it look like he was doing nothing. He would spend 10 minutes here and there making bread. He made it look effortless, like it was an afterthought. Of course, none of that mattered to me by 4 o'clock when the bread was out of the oven. Butter on a fresh piece of bread is by far the best afternoon snack a kid could ask for.

He always made french bread on Tuesdays. He loves to have french bread on hand. This, I am sure, is why he would make it on Tuesday. I don't know when he does it now, but he still makes french bread. The last time my brother, sister, and I went home to visit my parents my dad made french bread. I am sure he didn't do it just for us. Of course he would dispute it, "Of course the I made this bread because my sons and daughter are all home for the holiday." We would sense his tone and move on. He would have us believe that he did all that work for his children. Inconvenient for him that I am on to his ways. This bread is for him.

I would be negligent not to mention that the end product is wonderful. The smiles that grow on the faces of the people feasting on bread are beacons of light. If you are lucky enough to eat the bread in the same room (the kitchen, most likely) that the bread was cooked in, you will be surrounded by the smells and warmth from the baking process. It is truly difficult to avoid eating an entire loaf of bread. Dad always seems to eat a couple pieces and be done. The rest of us do tend to eat closer to a half of a loaf, if not more. It was always hard to imagine how he does it. Again: I am on to him. He doesn't make the bread just to eat a ton of it.

Lately, I have begun making bread myself. This is why I am on to my dad and his clever little ways. He isn't in love with just the taste of bread. I know now that he does love the taste of bread, but that is not the entire reason for making bread. He also doesn't make bread every Tuesday so that he could feed his growing children, though I am sure it made for a nice side effect. The reason my dad makes bread goes back to the beginning of what has become quite a long story: Tuesdays are my dad's day off. When you take a day off you go out of your way to do the things that are most enjoyable for you. This is why my dad makes bread on Tuesday.

The process, from beginning to end, is most enjoyable for my dad. He makes bread because he loves the simple ingredients. How can you ignore that all you put into french bread is water, yeast, salt, and flour? You start with the most basic staples of a kitchen and you end up with something so seemingly complex as french bread. He loves the process, and so do I.

For twenty something years, Dad inspired me with his bread. That was the start of it all for me. I'll keep telling the story of my bread making right here... I hope you enjoy!

My first attempt at my Dad's french bread - about a year ago

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