Daily bread

Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m a compulsive cook.

On Sunday, I baked bread and cinnamon rolls for the week, cooked black beans for dinner, and prepared the dough for the tortillas, which my husband graciously rolled.  We also went to the farmer’s market, where I bought assorted fruits and vegetables for the week to come, including the spinach that the next day I turned into a soup.

Yet, somehow, I felt as though I was slacking on Monday because I wasn’t baking anything.  No muffins – I’d be doing those on Tuesday.  No bread, which I’ll probably need to do on Wednesday.  No zucchini bread, which I’ll make on Thursday in anticipation of Zachary’s belated birthday celebration at school, which is Friday.

My weeks are organized around food, which is getting increasingly complicated, I must add.  Lilah seems to be allergic to, well, everything.  So far, the foods that have made her break out in hives include lentils, chicken, tomatoes, eggs, and all forms of squash.  Given that she has only one tooth, it’s a bit of a challenge coming up with food for her, although thanks to the food gods, she’ll eat anything I put in front of her.

Unlike Zachary, who refuses to eat anything.  Every day is Yom Kippur for this child.

And my husband, oh King of the Processed Foods.

Fuck if I know what to cook anymore.  But, somehow I persevere, partly by making bread for most dinners, so that if nothing else there is something The Pickiest Boy on the Block will eat.  And I cannot stop myself.  I want to cook, to feel in control of my world by chopping onions.  Article rejected?  Knead dough.  Au pair fired?  Bake beans.

Food seems to be my cure-all these days.  It is real, concrete, and under my control.  I want to be in my kitchen, where good smells and nourishing food are achievable, since so much else feels far beyond my grasp.

So, forgive me as I neglect to read your blogs and let weeks pass without a post.  I am in my kitchen dissolving yeast.

12 responses to “Daily bread

  1. I admire people who cook, who nourish their families in this lovely and concrete way.

  2. My sister used to be allergic to darn near everything….. milk, eggs, wheat, all forms of melon, chocolate, gosh now I am forgetting some, the good news is she “grew out of them” the bad news was she was 10. We thought my daughter (now 15 months old)was having reactions to foods, and started to keep a journal, turns out her hives had nothing to do with food, but everything to do with dog licks or touching anything the dog put in her mouth (WHO KNEW)….now that I know that and keep her away from the dog the problem is solved… allergies are so darn weird!

  3. Oh, my S.O. is a King of Processed Food, too. He’ll eat just about anything if you put orange cheddar on it. Blech.

  4. This makes me think of the book by Mary Ann Hoberman, The Seven Silly Eaters.

  5. I feel like everything in my life is spinning madly out of control. My outlet has become sewing.

    I have an idea.

    Just hear me out.

    Let’s combine our families and make a kind of neo-commune. Imagine all the bread and handmade goods!

  6. It’s fall, too, despite the fact that southern California fall is a bit elusive. I can’t wait to hear more about what you’re cooking.

  7. As strange as this sounds, I do the same thing.

    The less control I have over the world around me, the more I cook (though I usually bake – my husband has such a strict diet for medical reasons that I’ve thrown in the towel on experimenting with dinners). I love the completeness of it. In my line of work progress is often nebulous and best measured in years, not days. But cooking is instant gratification – eggs, flour, sugar, butter, and LOOK! a cake. It’s so gratifying.

    So I get it. And man do I love homemade bread. Too bad there’s no way for you to send some of it my way.

  8. Cooking is (was) totally my therapy. I’m so impressed that you can do it with three kids (and no more au pair?).

  9. I was a kitchen control freak this summer as well. That eased up as soon as the kids went back to school.

    Careful with melons if she’s allergic to squash- they are closely related.

    Umm- zucchini bread- sounds yummy. Spinach soup… hmm.

  10. I hear you. I am sewing things right now, for the same reason. It’s something I can do, something I can control, something to help me feel moderately accomplished. Sometimes it’s all you can do, I think.

  11. Check out “The Seven Silly Eaters” by Mary Ann Hoberman, if you’ve not seen it before.

  12. Cooking from scratch helps center me too (and doing dishes, go figure). I thought I had lost that kind of creativity during all the picky-eater years and on through the chaotic teenage years when everybody was on a different schedule. I more or less gave up for a while but I am slowly getting it back now that my daughters are young adults and we are now sharing recipes, etc.