Snow Day

Perhaps a more productive, more mature person would view this differently, but I still am generally happy to have a snow day.  Admittedly, when one has a job, absent a true blizzard, the work still has to be done so such a wintry day is substantially less a bonus than when one is a child.  Nevertheless, today’s accumulation of the white stuff was, by and large, a welcome occurrence. 

Although today is a Saturday, which necessarily cuts down on the attractiveness of a snow day, it is one during which Melissa is on call and therefore regrettably has to work anyway.  Mostly this is bad for her, but selfishly it is also sub-optimal for me as now it means that I am the sole source of transportation, authorization, education, meal preparation and activity coordination for our sons.  But the arrival of the snow resulted in the cancellation of the relatively few mandatory items on our schedule for today.  And although I generally enjoy these activities – it was mostly basketball for both kids, which is an opportunity for parents to delude themselves into thinking that just because one’s kid makes more than two baskets in the same game that a Duke scholarship is a sure bet – my current post-chemo mindset has made me more reclusive than usual. 

Thus, on a day such as today, it is usually an opportunity to do time-intensive activities that are not particularly important.  My preferred snow day activity is to bake bread.  I am the cook/baker/chef of the family, a role I relish as I both love food (while despising the term “foodie” – who is not a “foodie”? – just prisoners who are staging a protest, I think, and heavy smokers) and I loathe law, so if I can do something to add some value to our nuclear unit that does not involve reading a contract then sign me up. 

When it comes to baking bread, there are many ways I have done it.  But on a snow day, when I am essentially incarcerated (like the anti-foodies), I pass over all of my easier recipes and reach for an old family recipe, known simply as “Aunt Jenny’s White Bread.”  This recipe was dictated to me over the phone by my mother, a feat rather easily accomplished since, like most recipes of this era (Aunt Jenny was born circa 1895), there are not too many precise measurements that one has to get down, which is a euphemism for saying that there are no precise measurements.  The recipe contains many well-intentioned but practically useless steps such as “Add some salt” and “Knead until kneaded well.”  About the only precise directive in the entire recipe, which is contained on one side of a 3×5 index card, is to “Let rise on top of refrigerator in bowl covered with newspaper, kitchen towel and pillow.” 

Before I go in search of my pillow – I may use one of Melissa’s since she is not here to use it anyway – I feel compelled to say a word or two about white bread.  Specifically, those words are, “I love it.”  I think that white bread is blamed for far too many of society’s ills.  I am biased of course – as a child of the 70s, all we knew was white bread.  Wheat bread?  Isn’t all bread made from wheat?  But if one is going to have some pre-processed lunch meat with pre-packaged and pre-sliced cheese smothered in mayo, do a few grams of whole grains really make a difference?  I think we all know the answer to that one. 

Of course, this is mostly a theoretical exercise anyway.  Given my current low-carb existence, I sadly won’t be participating in any such bread.  I just hope that the mere scent of carbs, and “partial” grains at that, won’t adversely affect my weight-loss efforts. 

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