Life continues to flow here in Den Haag. I’m on the hunt for more students and more gigs while trying not to freeze my butt off. Which is a full time job. It’s cold here. Like, -5. It’s so cold that yesterday my eyeballs froze and fell clear out of my head. I heard them clink as they rolled away. Now I’m blind and it’s all the cold’s fault. I know, I know, all you howling Canadians, it’s not as cold as it could be. But, Dude. I don’t live in Canada. Mostly because I hate the cold. And it’s not normally so cold here. Chilly, yes. Wet, yes. Grey, yes. But all of the above combined with biting wind? No. I’m not having it. As such, I have absolutely no desire to go outside, despite its apparent necessity.
I have already made plans to stay indoors for the rest of the winter. My students come here for lessons anyway. Any concerts or rehearsals can happen right here at my desk. The harpist can squeeze in between the Mac and the filing cabinet. The audience can sit around the dining table. It’s possible, right? Besides that, I don’t need much entertaining. I have a cat. I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle. I can send Adam out for groceries. And I just bought a bread machine.
Oh my god, did I write that out loud? I have a bread machine. What? WHYYY?!? What the hell did I go and do that for? I don’t even eat bread! Ok, a little, but it makes me all bloaty and I regret it every time. A bread machine… I must have died and gone to housewife hell. I’ve always poo-pooed bread machines. Why bother when a store-bought loaf is just as good? Is just as cheap (if not cheaper)? And a store provides far more variety? Holland has GREAT bread. At your average grocer you’ll find about 20 varieties from light to very dark. So why bother adding another giant, energy-sucking, dust-collecting, destined-to-be-put-in-storage-or-palmed-off-on-a-naive-friend appliance? WHYYY?!?
Because I like baking bread, dammit. It’s as simple as that. I like the smell. I like the process. I like to know that I made it. But honestly? I just can’t be bothered to do it by hand. I don’t have the patience. I have tried baking bread a few times. And all starts out well. The measuring, the sifting, the kneading, the feeling all earthy, the singing of Kumbaya… but when it gets to the “let sit in a warm place to rise for, like, three generations” stage, I don’t cope well. I lose patience. I check the clock. I get bored. I check the clock. I want it now. I check the clock. I peek. I check the clock. I poke. I check the clock. I peek AND poke. I check the clock. And after, I dunno, five minutes?, I prematurely tear the flabby dough from it’s womb. I punch it. I slap it. I mark it with “EFF”. I bake it. And I end up with a warm hockey puck. I’m a bread-baking failure due to a personality conflict between myself and yeast. It can’t be helped. Why should I be required to tend to the yeast’s needs? At the yeast’s prescribed times? Really? What am I, yeast’s mother? Nooo! So, if you’ll follow my oddball logic, I bought a bread machine.
You know, this whole bread thing sounds suspiciously similar to how I make rice: What, I just put the lid on and let it cook? That can’t be. The recipe has clearly forgotten to include: “Stir constantly and vigorously until the spoon stands upright and you have achieved a glue-like paste”. Obviously. Yeah, so Adam makes the rice in our house. And I have issues.
So far I like the bread machine. I throw all the ingredients in, I push a button, I go work on my jigsaw, and it beeps when it’s done. Nice. It fulfils all of my bready desires without being to needy (I didn’t say “kneady”, but I thought it), it warms the house (and now has a special place in the bedroom which has been ARCTIC these days), it smells great, and so far there have not been any bread-related disasters. Ok, the first loaf was a little anemic:
But things have improved.
I’ll let you know in a year or so when we’re ready to give the machine away.