Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fun Monday - Why I'm Me and What I Like

Our Fun Monday host this week is the marvelous Mariposa, who has figured out the EASY way to include everyone's links!!! Oh, how I wish I'd known how to do this last week! Anyway, she thinks she's made this week's challenge easy - but you know, there's always a story behind what I have to share on Fun Mondays...

Mariposa says:

Fun Monday is easy, I'll only be asking TWO things -

(1) Please share to us how the NAME of your BLOG was made? I can't wait to hear interesting funny stories!

(2) Please share to us (in words or photo, though a combination of both will be a bonus!) your favorite/ most common dish!

Okay... for question number one, I have to say that I sort of answered that a couple of weeks ago when we talked about songs that other people associate with us. My answer was "Sara Smile" by Hall and Oates. I also said that while this song has followed me around like Pig Pen's dust cloud since high school, I never particularly LIKED the song. It was one of those I've-heard-it-one-time-too-many things. However, it came on the radio last week and I was humming along, so perhaps a truce has been worked out here with the passage of, like, a bazillion years.

If I hated the song so much, then why did I choose something close for the name of my blog?

Well, I like the way those two words go together. And I like the sentiment. And because this blog is for my son - a record of who I was, what I thought about, memories that surface when I am challenged by the likes of you guys, I like to think about him reading this years down the road and smiling - either because he thinks his mom is silly or because he remembers something I write about or because he just loves me. The blog is for sometime in the distant future, when he's all grown up and maybe is starting to care about stuff like that. Perhaps I won't be here when that happens (I'm having this blog bound in hardback for him), and I imagine my soul smiling as he reads. Hence the name.... Sayre Smiles.


And now, for part two.

I have a confession. I hate to cook. My husband is a whiz in the kitchen and takes care of most of the cooking. I have a few dishes I do well, but I can't really pick a favorite. Food just doesn't interest me that way.

But when I was growing up, my dad decided that with all those mouths to feed, it would be cheaper if he made his own bread rather than pay the exhorbitant price of 50 cents a loaf. Besides, it couldn't be that much harder than making biscuits (which he was a genius at), could it?

Yes, it could.

Saturday mornings, our house was filled with the wonderful yeasty aroma of bread rising, then baking. Gigantic bowls of dough were set to rise and it was so much fun to see him punch them down with such enthusiasm. He was a champion kneader too, and once he'd beaten the dough into submission, he gently formed his loaves and set them to rise again. To the ovens they went and it wasn't long before the most amazing bread came out, soft and high with a thin crust. We would slice it warm and slather butter all over it and stuff it into our mouths emitting great sighs of contentment as each piece disappeared.

I'm not sure that any of that bread actually made it past Saturday evening, so we wound up buying bread anyway.

Once in a great while, something didn't work. The yeast didn't rise properly or some key ingredient was forgotten and the result was something we fondly called "lead bread". It was wonderful just out of the oven, but once it started cooling down, it had the consistency of a yeasty brick. Those loaves were donated to the opossum family that lived under the neighbor's shed. I wonder how many generations of opossum were nourished by Dad's failures...

When I grew up and got married, I was looking for some thing I could do that was housewifely to prove that I was a good wife. Someone gave me a marvelous cookbook that I still use to this day - The Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-by-Step Cookbook because I believe I may have already mentioned - I was a horrible cook. Husband number one expected me to be able to do that and do it well (possibly one reason I hate cooking now), so I was gifted with this book.

Thumbing through it one day, my eye fell on a recipe for Honey Wheat bread. I was living in Oklahoma City, far from home and family and feeling quite homesick - and I decided that I would make bread. It brought the cozy memories of those weekend bakings back and I set out to buy the ingredients. It took me a couple of tries to get it right, but when I did, it was WONDERFUL! I became a bread-baking fiend. Everyone at work got loaves of bread for Christmas. It was that good. And we ate it almost exclusively at home as well.

I still have that cookbook, and I still use it often, but I haven't baked bread in a long, long time. The kneading gets me, you see. I have arthritis in my hands and they don't work well even just writing a check, much less manhandling dough for ten minutes at a time. But I've recently bought a food processor, one that is big enough for a ball of dough. I discovered, when the arthritis was really bad, that a good food processor could do the kneading for me. My old one had given up the ghost (and why not? it had served me faithfully for 20 years) and I didn't replace it for a long, long time - the cost of the things was just too much. But I found one on sale and bought it - and soon, I will make bread again.

This is the recipe that I used. It is absolutely fabulous!

scan0005

DON'T FORGET TO VISIT MARIPOSA TO SEE THE WHOLE LIST OF FUN MONDAY PARTICIPANTS AND VISIT THEIR BLOGS!

33 comments:

Alison said...

thanks for the recipe!! I used to make all of our bread also...I love the smell and fresh bread w/butter is wonderfu!!

ellen b said...

I love a smile Sayre and a blog that produces smiles is a great treat for me. Oh there is nothing quite as heavenly as bread baking. have a wonderful week!

Liane Michel said...

Sarah,

And I spell Sarah Sarah because I know you as Sarah and not Sayre, you should not leave this blog so Zboy will know who you WERE, you are showing him who you ARE, and in just a few years he will know.

On another note, I remember the bread making times just now after reading your blog... although I can't remember ever tasting that bread.

Thank you for bring up memories I'd long forgotten and thank you for being you. I love you, hannah

Sayre said...

Ah, Han - you must have been there for the lead bread! If you didn't know it tasted good (while still hot), you wouldn't want to try it - it did not look appetizing at all. Opossums are nearly blind, you know.

I love you too! Hey, fill me in on the birthday at lunch on Tuesday!

Faye said...

What a great idea of writing your blog with the idea that your son may read it someday. Does that inhibit in any way? I would think not--be interesting for him to see you as a separate person--not just as mom.

I think many kids enjoy baking bread--and men do as well--for some reason.

Mariposa said...

Your post made me think...hmm...I should get a hubby who is a whiz in the kitchen too! ;)

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

What you need is bread-making machine. I know a lot of people pooh-pooh them but mine is worth its weight in gold!

Celeste said...

What a wonderful idea behind a blog. I can remember as a child pouring through old journals found in my grandmother's attic. Through the generations some things stay constant, while others are changed by our technology and the events around us.

A German shepherd whippet cross in your house? Like any breed, there are good eggs and bad eggs in whippets, but in general, whippets are a very sweet breed....perhaps not the sharpest knives in the drawer ;) but expert at getting their human servants to bend to their needs. If you have a whippet combined with the brains of a GSD...that sounds like fun.

jennifer said...

"Something houeswifely to prove I was a good wife" boy that struck a chord in me! I like you post and your name. There is a movie called 'Savannah Smiles' and I think of that! Jennifer

thefoodsnob said...

I remember the story of your blog's name before.
GREAT bread story, I can just picture your kitchen and all the dough. I HAD to eat a baguette the other day because they were fresh from the oven (you just don't have a choice with that, do you?)
Thanks for your comment, and thank your mom, I'm glad she enjoys reading me!

Lisa

nikki said...

Bread is something I would never tackle. Mine would end up very un-edible.

Pamela said...

Saturday's with the smell of bread rising... sounds like nirvana.

I have a bread maker and I should use it more often. But guess who eats it? Yes, me.

What a wonderful reason to blog -- and that was sort of my intention, too. To tell stories of family history on paper (well you know what I mean) and not only be in some of our heads.

-Ann said...

Can't wait to try out your baking recipe.

Sandy said...

Oh, that bread looks so wonderful. I remember my Aunt Florence's bread - hers was the best!

Thank you.

Jan said...

Great story. I haven'e made bread in years. Hmm. now I'm hungry.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh I might try that recipe one day. I have never made bread before but I love it. And I love how you wrote this post and combined the two parts so well. :D

JennV said...

What fabulous stories! I was once a lover of Hall & Oates and could just see your Dad kneading the bread into submission!

Have a Fun Monday!

Junebug said...

I read your song post before and love your blog name. That bread recipe is something I am going to print and try. I love to bake bread but I don't do it very often anymore. You know you just go through phases. I used to make pies all the time now not so much.

Carrie Sue said...

That's sweet. I completely forgot about that song. The bread looks yummy!

Hootin' Anni said...

Mmmmmmmmmmm, yummy looking bread!!! And you KNOW I love your smiles!!! it's just too fitting for you.

janet said...

suddenly, i'm hungry for a sandwich.....

Michelle said...

That bread looks absolutely yummy!! I will have to try that reccipe!!

Kim said...

I love the name Sayre. It feels nostalgic. I'll bet his smiles are stunners!

Nekked Lizard Lady said...

When my kids were little and I was a stay at home mom, I used to bake bread every Monday, from scratch without a bread maker. Mix the dough, let it rise, bat it down, let it rise, and on and on. I got very good at it, too. (Everytime I read your blog, that song (Sara Smile) sticks in my head...good thing I like the song)

karisma said...

Well, I would go for the hubby who could cook, but I kinda like the one I have already! Now having said that, I, like you , do not like to cook....I think we should all eat out! We should take along our little Zboys too, I think they would get along famously!

mem mallary-santiago said...

hi! i'd like my son to read mine too so he'll know how dear he is to me.

mama speak said...

Your discription of your dad's bread baking had my mouth watering...not very nice to a low carb girl. But I'd guess you'd know about that. One of these days I'm going to pull this up to make with my daughters.

Gattina said...

That's a nice blog title ! Smiling is always good !

Melanie said...

I love the name of your blog- interesting how you picked it.

Kaytabug said...

That bread looks and sounds divine!
Loved the story that lead to it! tee hee!
I am so glad you shared the story about your blog name a few weeks ago because it cleared up a mistake I was making I thought Sayre was said Say- rr...not sara... but I see it clearly now!!

jientje said...

I love baking bread myself, and you described it so well, the flavour, how it smells, and how baking bread makes you feel a better housewife!

I have a foodprocessor too and it's also my second one, the first one gave up after 22 years of faithfull service! It was one of the few things I took with me when my first marriage crashed!! hehehe, we have a lot in common, only I love to cook too, and you don't!

Karina said...

OH, I love the smell (and taste as well, but oh the smell) of fresh baked bread!

Irish Coffeehouse said...

I should have been born into an Italian family because I cannot get enough bread!

Thanks for sharing!