Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Going To Need Butter

When I was wee, back in the olden days, I lived in the country.  On a one-lane, unmarked road that literally started as a cow path, winding along a creek in between two mountains.  With a next-door neighbor that had only an outhouse and no indoor bathrooms, until I was in high school.  Surrounded on all sides by fields of cows.  Go straight past The Waltons and picture Little House On The Praire, but with electricity and mountains.  It is what is euphemistically referred to as "rural".
Across the street lived a nice lady who was known for having the best homemade bread anyone had ever eaten.  She babysat me a few times, and I would "help" her make bread.  This was decades ago, and I still remember the deliciousness of that thick-sliced homemade bread, hot from her oven.  One time I spent the night with her and her husband, and I loved her old two-story house, with its dark wood floors, high ceilings and old-fashioned wallpaper, tall windows and a cozy bed that was so high off the ground I had trouble climbing up into it.
She, now a widow, turned 90 a year ago, but she still thinks of me and she always sends me a Christmas card.  So I always send her one, too, and his year I wrote her a little note, just telling her how fondly I remember making bread with her (and especially eating the bread).  A few days ago I got a hand-written letter from her.  Including the recipe!
Oh my goodness.  Firstly, how sweet is she?   I am sure it wasn't a quick easy task for her to write that all out.  Secondly, I am not exactly a good or experienced cook.  Reading it exitedly, I only got a fraction of the way through the recipe before I was already lost.  Sugar is one of the ingredients?  How do you "scald" milk?  What does "pound it down" mean, exactly?
Well, my friends, it is time for me to become a real woman and learn how to bake bread.