Because of the pandemic, the Washington Waldorf School’s annual Holiday Bazaar is online this year. But you can still join in socially-distant craft activities and patronize the Waldorf store and participating vendors (of whom I am one) by following the link. Hoping for in-person next year…
Up early this morning, to prepare the St.Patrick’s Day table and bake soda bread for breakfast. There are many choices, and this recipe (below) is my current favorite. But I was out of wheat germ, so I substituted bran, resulting in a gutsier product. Great with Irish cheddar, or yogurt and jam (or all of the above, if that is to your taste). Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Irish Brown Soda Bread
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (or bran)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 T cold unsalted butter cut into bits
1-1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (I’ve tried both)
Preheat oven to 425º.
Sprinkle baking sheet with a little flour.
In a large bowl whisk together flours, oats, wheat germ/bran, baking soda, and salt. With fingertips rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk/yogurt and mix quickly until dough is evenly moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Turn dough onto floured surface and shape quickly into neat sphere, sprinkling with more flour as needed. On prepared baking sheet pat dough out into 7-inch round. With sharp knife cut shallow X in top.
Bake 25 minutes or so (depends on your oven) until bread looks set in center. Cool before serving.
On my mother’s birthday, I always bake her an apple pie in honor of the hundreds of apple pies she made for us, and we light a candle and sing, our voices some years joined by those of friends (thank you Karla, Rob, Kathy, and Ivan). I’m sure my mother is getting much better pie in the Great Beyond, but we continue the earthly tradition. Happy birthday, Mom!
Frosting as an art medium. For my son’s birthday, I decorated his cake with some of his lifelong favorites: dinosaurs, Lego, and Superman, who is demonstrating the mighty power of the written word, in deference to his current pursuit of an MFA in writing. My son’s, that is, not Superman’s. Superman already has his.
A giant chocolate-chip scone on the table this morning, and a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Happy Valentines Day, everyone.
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine? –
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
Trot about the studio early this morning assembling a quickie door decoration: red and yellow construction paper, downloaded Chinese characters, gold spray paint, scrap of gold lace from the remnant box. Gallop to Yes Natural Foods after school for groceries. At the finish line: dumplings and spicy tofu for dinner. Happy Chinese New Year!
My husband doesn’t care for cake, so every year we celebrate his birthday with an apple pie. Here is this year’s model.
He also shares his birthday with Alfred de Musset (1810-1857) and so I include a poem, along with a poor translation for which I apologize. In honor of my husband’s birthday, I tried to find a jolly poem among all the melancholy meditations on de Musset’s difficult love affair with Aurore Dupin (Georges Sand); but, failing that, I include a poem set in Paris, where my husband and I lived a happier love story than did poor Alfred. (The poem’s use of both forms of second person singular shows what we’ve lost in English when we gave one up.)
Que j’aime le premier frisson d’hiver ! le chaume,
Sous le pied du chasseur, refusant de ployer !
Quand vient la pie aux champs que le foin vert embaume,
Au fond du vieux château s’éveille le foyer ;
C’est le temps de la ville. – Oh ! lorsque l’an dernier,
J’y revins, que je vis ce bon Louvre et son dôme,
Paris et sa fumée, et tout ce beau royaume
(J’entends encore au vent les postillons crier),
Que j’aimais ce temps gris, ces passants, et la Seine
Sous ses mille falots assise en souveraine !
J’allais revoir l’hiver. – Et toi, ma vie, et toi !
Oh ! dans tes longs regards j’allais tremper mon âme
Je saluais tes murs. – Car, qui m’eût dit, madame,
Que votre coeur sitôt avait changé pour moi ?
—Alfred de Musset
How I love the first winter chill! the stubble,
Under the foot of the hunter, refusing to bend!
When the magpie comes to the hay-scented fields,
In the depths of the old château the household awakens;
This is the time of the city. – Oh! when last year
I returned, I saw the good Louvre and its dome,
Paris and her smoke, and all this lovely realm
(I still hear in the wind the shouting postilions)
How I loved this gray time, these passersby and the Seine
Beneath its thousand lanterns seated supreme!
I would see the winter return. – And thee, my life, and thee!
Oh! in thy long looks I would drench my soul
I would salute thy walls. – For, who would have told me, madame,
That your heart had so soon changed toward me?
In honor of the conjunction of Thanksgiving with the start of Hanukkah—an event we haven’t seen since 1888 and won’t see again for (by some estimates) 79,000 years—I made turkey-shaped challah for today’s feast, using the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Happy holidays, everyone.