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Monday, May 2, 2016

Walking With Jackie the Ripper

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Do you know anyone in the world who doesn't like homemade bread? Many years ago, probably a least 20, there was a sorta fad amongst us homemakers in which we passed around a recipe for sourdough bread and accompanied it with the "starter" which was used for the leavening process in lieu of yeast.

Well, in my old age I have become addicted to making bread. One day when I was at a loss for something constructive to do, I attempted to roughly figure out how many loaves of bread I had made during the past 20 years, and would you believe the total was over 5,000? Never had a problem getting rid of it either. As I mentioned, I don't know of anyone who doesn't like homemade bread.

My little neighbor boy in Mississippi loved it and seemed able to detect the odor of my baking all the way across the road. One day he stuck his head in the door and said, "That bread smells almost done." Guess who got a loaf right out of the oven?

Jackie hangs around when I am kneading, ever hopeful I'll drop a dollop of dough on the floor for her consumption, and I often do.

Good Mama baked bread once a week and perhaps I got the gene from her. During my vacation at the farm I always helped, and no small part of the fun lay in the unique method we came up with for kneading the dough.We played pitch and catch. If I dropped it, which didn't happen often, we didn't worry much about it, just mixed the dust and dirt into the sticky mass and no one was ever the wiser.

Let it come as a comfort to those of you who have eaten my bread that I no longer follow this kneading procedure.

One day at a craft fair in a moment of weakness I took leave of my senses and bought a homemade, wooden dough bowl. It didn't come cheap, being right off the tree, and my family seriously considered having me committed to a mental asylum, but I have never regretted the purchase. (I am thinking of naming it in my will but I don't know who is worthy of receiving such a precious possession.)

Several folks have told me they can remember their grandmother having such a vessel when they were small, but they recall the bowls as being almost white. I believe this is probably the result of the many years of having flour pounded into them.

My bowl is still showing a lot of the wood stain which makes it so pretty, but I'll bet another 5,000 loaves of bread will put an end to that. Thus my grandkids will be able to tell their grandkids about an old, white wooden dough bowl their grandma used for making bread when they were little.