Friday, April 11, 2008

Bread as Therapy

Even though this is a public forum, I won't lie: I've been very depressed this week. Today, on my day off I got up and cleaned our apartment, then went to the store to pick up a few things. As you know, for St. Patrick's Day I made some Irish Potato Bread--the recipe I found in the St. Louis Post Dispatch is good (I've made it twice), but Leah hates it. Which is good for a way (because I get to eat it all by myself). There is something about the process of making bread that both fascinates me and soothes me. I guess a more manly thing would be to polish guns or something...but that's not really my bag (baby). So instead, I bought some dry yeast and a loaf pan, and I baked. Simple white bread. The time it takes to do this is incredible (over five hours), and most of that time is spent simply waiting...and yet it fills me with such pleasure. The act of making something with my hands, the care required...the measurements of time and flour.

When I first started working, I had three jobs I wanted (because I thought they'd be "fun"): bookstore clerk, security guard, and music store clerk. I did two out of three (never found a job in a record shop) and for the most part, I enjoyed working those jobs. When I moved to STL-land, I was introduced to St. Louis Bread Company (by way of my best-friend Leah). For some reason (maybe it was the good food), I found myself adding "bread baker" to that little mental list. Alas, my pride (and BA) keep me from applying to a job where all I'd do is bake bread. But after today, I'd do it in a heartbeat (if it paid above minimum wage).

The historian part of me (that kid who, at the end of the day, just likes stories) is curious about the origin/history of bread. How the hell did we come up with it? I know a quick search of the Internet would yield me something close to an answer...but I'm not searching, not today. It maybe simple magic, but it's magic nonetheless. And right now, I need that more than anything:


Murphy said...

Well, writers seem to be prone to depression. God knows I get the blue funk on a regular basis.

Per bread making, I don't see anything wrong with that. Speaking as someone who has cleaned guns once or twice, I'd much rather do the dishes and clean the pans (though I don't care for that either). That said, at least you get to eat what you bake.

For me it was making breakfast for the significant other Thursday morning. I get something out of that which I can't quite define.

I think it just shows you are well rounded and human, Jason. The guys that clean their guns all the time usually have phallic insecurity issues anyway.

Lee's Summit, Missouri

Anonymous said...

I love this post. Years ago, my mother PAID for me to take a class in "how to bake bread". I was so intellectual about it and made the act of kneading unnecessarily difficult. I lobe taking my aggressions out on a blob of dough until I feel it begin to push back.

Actually, it was great training. During my "stay at home" mom years, I actually baked all of the family's bread. Honey whole wheat. I learned all sorts of tricks--like you have to adjust for the humidity in the air, etc.

Plus, homemade bread makes for the crunchiest toast.

For me, the most unexpectedly therapeutic activity was planting seeds in a garden. I got so excited when the little green shoots popped out of the ground!

Melodie said...

Lindsey and I think that you should go to a culinary college. You love to cook so much and it would be fun for you. You will have to make some bread for us when we visit next.

Mom & Lindsey

Jason said...

Thanks for making me feel better about it, Murph (by the way I just got an email from YOUTUBE about a comment on your Public Reading Video, go check it out).

Terri--I like the taste of the bread, but what's more...I like the satisfaction I get knowing that I made it. It's cool to make something better than what you can buy at a store and think, "I made this." I'm going to have to toast some-up tomorrow with my cup of coffee.

Mom (and apparently Lindsey)--I would LOVE to do that!!! Which one of you is going to pay for it??


Jimu said...

hmm so you want a job baking and helping people.. maybe a job at some sort of food service place?

or here:

its st. louis bread co.. but that'd be so cool.

Dave said...

What's most fun about making bread is creating nourishment out of inedible ingredients. (4 cups of flour? I suppose I COULD eat it, but why?)

Then you get to run around like tom hanks yelling "I HAVE MADE FOOOOOD!"

Plus it's a little messy, which always adds to the fun.

Becky said...

You should find a way to open a bake shop and make less ass tasting Passover Cake and Bread...I have a real hatred towards Matzah after about 2 days into Passover.

Jason said...

Becky I actually LIKE Matzah. Weird, I know. But in the dorms, whenever Leah would bring that stuff was GONE *poof*

Leah's upset that I'm baking all this bread (made two more loaf's today) because Passover is coming. I've been told that I can't bake anymore...lest she be tempted (I plan on eating all the bread I want, sorry Leah).

Anyway, when you're a rich doctor maybe I'll hit you up for some "seed money" to open my bakery.

Anonymous said...

Hummm.....I would pay for it ( to you to learn how to cook) only if I could get free food, or hot bread,which ever comes first! something to think about,never know. One question you did wash your hands before,during the making of this bread? wonder if Mr. Wonder, started this way? Do you think the world ready for the limemonkey bread?? ..............

Becky said...

Hah rich doctor...I'm going to be a rich consultant soon...This whole making a ton of money thing is conflicting me.

Lrgblueeyes said...

Im fine with you eating bread just dont make it when im around, the smell of fresh baked bread is maddening when you cant have any.