some people measure life in years. photographs. houses and apartments. jobs. love. i prefer to track my existence in culinary catastrophes. 2004, year of the salty stir fry. 2006, rubber cutlets. 2008, tofu a la eek.
perhaps it was the obstinate pie refusing to bake in fee's oven that helped me connect the dots when i received a facebook message from one derek christensen last weekend. the last time i remember seeing derek, his family (friends from our skokie days) came to visit our house in michigan. 1992...
i associated bread-making with older sister sarah, man of la mancha, and gleeful kitchen dancing. what better way to welcome old friends? with mirth in mind, i pulled mom's betty crocker cookbook out of the army green cubby, stood on a kitchen chair to find all the ingredients, and plotted to impress our houseguests with my own edible delight.
i spent all morning pondering foreign concepts like yeast, knead, and punch the dough. sometime after lunch, i stuffed a dense ball of floury doom into the oven at 350 and left it to the kitchen gods.
derek, his sister - janine, baby rach, and i sat at the card-turned-kids' table long after dinner was finished. waiting. we passed the time cracking jokes and laughing, occasionally worrying over the bread that resembled meat- more than any other variety of loaf. after 3 hours of baking, i pulled the mound out of the oven, sliced off pieces of 3" gooey unmentionables, and we all braved it.
"not bad," derek encouraged.
janine nodded in agreement.
baby rach smiled.
my tummy rumbled.
approximately 3 bites and 4 tummy aches later, we abandoned the yeast-forsaken bakewreck and bolted downstairs to watch the cutting edge.
You may ask yourself, "How did I get here?". - I'm going to tell you all about L'Eroica California in painstaking detail: Just not now. I will say though that I've given a lot to cycling over the years...