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