Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fresh Baked Love

I cannot imagine a life where I'm unable to just go to the store, in my car, and buy whatever it is that I need. Bread, milk, eggs, cheese, king size Snickers bars, you know, necessities. Everything we need is within our reach, we don't have to do any extra work to acquire it.

If people were unable to buy simple things like bread, how many of them would even know how to make their own? Not many. Tons of people can't even cook themselves simple things, they rely on pre-packaged convenience food, which for the most part, I am opposed to. I don't do Hamburger Helper or Chef Boyardee. Can't say the same thing about David, he loves Chef Boyardee. I might eat a slice of frozen pizza once in awhile, but I'd rather make my own.

As a former fast food employee, I am all too familiar with the huge number of people who don't cook their own food. Here in Benson that number seems huge. I'd see the same people, day after day, eating fast food hamburgers. They had to be sick of them, I know I was. When I quit my fast food job and went to work at a utility company, I was faced with the same people. Many of the same people who I saw day after day at Wendy's, who just couldn't live without their double stack, never paid their gas and water bill promptly. They made excuses and payment arrangements, and were dangerously close to losing service every month. But they had money for a hamburger. I guess they didn't need their gas that much anyway, since they didn't use it to cook.

I view cooking as an essential life skill. I'm not going to go to a restaurant every time I'm hungry, though I do appreciate a trip to Chili's for some cheese fries as much as the next girl. My family needs to be fed, and I'm a particularly hungry girl. The past year my quest for culinary dominance has had me making yeast breads. Pretzels, pizza dough, rolls, french bread. My favorite, carb filled foods. Today I find myself conquering my final yeast bread frontier: homemade bread.

As much as I love a good quick bread, zucchini, pumpkin, banana, I have never made a simple loaf of white bread. Till today. As I type, my kitchen is filled with one of my favorite smells ever, freshly baked bread. I haven't tasted it yet, but I've kneaded my share of dough in my life, so I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm gonna spread it with some strawberry freezer jam I made yesterday, and eat a minimum of three pieces.

On a side note, if you've never had freezer jam, you have to try it. It's so much yummier and fresher tasting than regular jam, because the fruit isn't cooked. And if you're like me and don't have any fancy canning stuff, it doesn't matter. You just put it into a plastic container. So easy! And I just used the recipe that was included with the pectin!

Now that I've sufficiently ranted on about cooking, I'd also like to say that I don't think everything needs to be made from scratch. I personally never put cream-of-anything soup into my food, but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with that. I like to cook, because I like to eat. I cook with love, because everything I make is going into the bellies of people I love. Ava has a weakness for my chocolate chip cookies, while Alana is a fan of pretzels.

My love of eating has led me to this:
It did not disappoint. I've eaten two pieces so far. Yum.
On an unrelated, I didn't cook this but it's delicious note, to supplement my bread and jam eating, I think I'll have a few of these too. Mmmmm. $5 cheese. I know it has a name, but to me it's defined by it's price tag. $5 for six little cheeses. It's a splurge, to say the least. Last night, when faced with the decision of Starbucks or $5 cheese, I thought outside the box and went with the cheese. Too bad my kids keep stealing it from me.


Brian and Janette said...

Hooray for homemade bread! Nothing better. And the freezer jam is definitely the way to go...although I usually decrease the amount of sugar the suggest, cause WOW! That's a lot of sugar. Did you grind your own flour too? I find freshly ground flour makes for the best bread. Plus, it's whole wheat flour that way. Anyway...congrats on your bread making and I have to admit that I let the Bosch do the kneading...that's no small chore.

Jennifer said...

I need to buy a wheat grinder, because whole wheat flour from the store can be kind of heavy sometimes. They do have a less-sugar kind of pectin, or even one where you don't add sugar, which can understand cause you're right WOW! A lot of the recipes have twice as much sugar as fruit, which is crazy. I'm gonna try the reduced sugar kind, but I can't go all out no sugar, I just don't have it in me.


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