My sister Daria foolishly agreed to acquire props for her son Tyler Too’s junior high school production of The Wizard of Oz, though I rejoiced at the idea of a shopping list that included Nerf apples and flying monkey wings. She’s been calling me three times a day for the last week because I’m so creative.
Daria: I need one of those oil cans for the Tin Man. The hardware store didn’t have one. Where do I go?
Tata: You live across the highway from a Home Depot. Have you looked there?
Daria: No dice.
Tata: What? Not for nothing, but it’d be a hoot if Dot pulled out two cans of Pam and asked, “Regular or olive oil?”
Tata: Oz wasn’t supposed to be long ago and far away. It was supposed to be contemporary and recognizable. Point a can of WD40 at your rust bucket and the audience will go crazy.
Daria: The director said no to the WD40 but the costume committee texted me to pick up 8 masks, one with fur.
Tata: No. Not until the kids turn 18. What’s wrong with those adults?
Daria: For one thing, I’m not on the costume committee. Do they still make those things you stick in oil cans? Where would I get one?
Tata: Sure, any Auto Zone will have that.
Daria: Someone on Facebook suggested I get a big can of Foster’s. I could stick that nozzle in a Foster’s can, right?
Tata: Absolutely. I can’t help you shop, but if you need someone to drink the beer, I’m your girl.
Yesterday’s post-surgery first was walking three blocks to deliver a loaf of homemade bread to my boss’ house – and walking back.
Today’s first was 12 minutes on the stationary bike, which would be a big surprise to the nurse at the hospital who told patients not to do that. Those other patients were not me. I’m fairly sure about that.
It would be perfectly reasonable if you’d forgotten I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. The reason that’s reasonable is I’ve laid off writing about it recently, so let’s resume, shall we? Yes, we shall.
Recipes are so bossy. Do this, do this, they say and by the third do this, I’m shouting how it’s not the boss of me. Even so, I would like to learn about bread baking. I opened one of Dad’s Marcella Hazan cookbooks. Marcella sometimes looks down her nose at her readers anyway, so now we have this:
Tata: The whole wheat recipe says to make the olive oil loaf only substitute 1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour and about 3-1/4 cups AP flour. But the olive oil loaf recipe is written in Latvian and says 2 cups.
Tata: I don’t believe you!
Tata: Yeah? YOU read it.
Tata: What? No way! This was all your idea!
Tata: Omigod, really, genius? Remember that time you got the bright idea to –
Tata: WE’RE BAKING BREAD. Read the recipe!
Tata: The olive oil loaf recipe says to proof the yeast in part of the water and all of the sugar, but there are directions for using the food processor and mixing manually. I’m using the KitchenAid and where’s the rest of the directions?
Tata: Did you know printers now use whole pages on both sides and if you read about half an inch down the page you’ll find the answers to your many stupid questions?
Tata: I didn’t know that!
Tata: I think we should see other people. We’re spending too much time together.
It turned out the recipe was pretty simple after I quit arguing that it wasn’t. Yeast, water, sugar and less than half the flour mixture, mixed and kneaded, sat on a potholder on the dining room radiator for a three-hour rise. Later, I mixed in the rest of the flour, the remaining water, salt, olive oil and dried rosemary I grew and dried; after a good kneading, the rather large dough sat in the same warm spot for another three-hour rise. I shaped the loaf, more or less, for a short rise, shellacked it with water, then baked for 12 minutes at 450 and 40 minutes at 350. In retrospect, I should have left it in for another 5-10 minutes, but the texture is really pretty good. I’m overjoyed, really. Pete, that wiseass, said, “It’s the best bread you’ve ever baked. If you can do it again, you’ll really have something there.” We’ll see how sarcastic he is when I’m making him delicious bread sandwiches three meals a day.