Friday, April 15, 2005

Je ne regrette rien

We have coined a new slang phrase. You know how when people want to say "information" they say "411" instead? Well, in the same spirit, the s.o. and I have decided that "filing a 4868" will henceforth mean "procrastinating." We are sure this new phrase will get a lot of use.

So yesterday morning I was filing a 4868 (yes, figuratively--I printed out the real one later in the day) and decided to bake a couple loaves of bread. I'm not too talented at baking bread. It requires a completely separate skill set from pastry-making or cooking, and I've never really gotten the hang of it. But we were almost out of wheat bread, so I cracked open Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and embarked on a recipe entitled "Molasses Bread with Cooked Grains." I used oatmeal as the cooked grain. And guess what? It was easy. A few hours later I had two beautiful, nicely-risen loaves of delicious oaty, wheaty bread. It turned out better than anything I could buy at the store, which, believe you me, is a new experience for me when it comes to bread-baking.*

This unexpected victory put me in a good mood for the whole work day, and much to my own surprise, I got quite a bit done. I interviewed four key people for my next article and wrote several hundred words on my current one. Then I had to drive into town to run some errands.

Errands, schmerrands. Yeah, sure, I went to the bank and put up a bunch of dog posters and picked up a case of beer and some pistachios**, but it didn't take me long to find my way to the expensive snobby cookware shop. Emboldened by my earlier success, I picked up the baguette pan I'd been wanting forever. After all, I reasoned, the only thing wrong with the baguettes I'd made a couple weeks ago was that they'd spread out funny. Obviously it was an equipment issue.

And then I saw it: a nine-inch red ceramic tart pan from the Emile Henry "Couleurs" series. I had never seen this particular piece before, but I knew it was exactly what I wanted. I already have the gorgeous blue pie plate from the same series--it was a gift from a very considerate chef friend--and I'd been thinking about collecting a few more pieces in different colors, but I hadn't known where to begin. Now, suddenly, I knew.

So I own it. I guess I'll be adding the large green souffle dish and the yellow rectangular baker to my Amazon wish list. As if my list weren't long enough! And did I mention that the "Proven├žal" series is unbelievably lovely in person? Sigh.

You know what? I don't usually buy things on impulse. It's not in my nature or my budget. But I keep walking into the kitchen and thinking, "I don't regret that at all."

Now the only question in my mind is, what shall I put in it for Saturday night's dessert?

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* I am not alone in my bread-making woes, I know. When I was growing up, I remember visiting my dad and my stepmother during their extreme hippie phase. My stepmother is a wonderful, delightful person, but back then she baked a lot of whole-wheat hockey pucks in the name of natural foods.

** Guess which errands were undertaken at the s.o.'s request?