May 14 2014
I’m a feminist. A hard-core, there-is-no-inherent-gender kind of feminist. A Judith Butler-reading, Gloria Steinem-worshipping, Ms. Magazine-subscribing feminist. Heck, I don’t just read them, I write for feminist publications.
I also work part-time from home, bake challah every week, and teach my kids to use a sewing machine. (That last one, that’s really just Benjamin, whose vast stuffed animal family needs a lot of outfits and pillows.) Last weekend, I whipped up a purse out of a pair of old jeans while homemade vegetable stock bubbled away in my Crockpot. Sometimes we make our own pasta.
I’m like Caroline Ingalls in yoga capris, except with boughten underwear and indoor plumbing. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 10 2014
I learned to braid and to bake at the same time. At my mother’s side, we mixed packets of yeast with warm water to let it proof, melted butter and stirred it together with eggs, milk, and honey, and added flour to make it a soft, pliable dough. She got the recipe for this sweetened and enriched challah from a roommate’s great-grandmother, who brought it with her from Europe.
“Push it away with the heel of your hands, then fold it over and pull it towards you,” she instructed, teaching me how to knead the dough. After the dough was springy and resilient, we placed it in a greased bowl to rise in a warm place. In the fall and winter, which is when we most often made honey-egg bread, we placed it on the edge of the kitchen counter, closest to the woodstove in the next room. We swaddled the bowl in a dishtowel.
After an hour, we lifted back the towel to see the dough, puffed out to double its size. My mother told me to punch it down, and we pried it out of the bowl and kneaded some more. She then cut it into equal pieces, three or six, depending on how many loaves we were making, or if we were making one big braid with a baby braid on top. We shaped each piece into a long, skinny snake, rolling on a floured board or between our hands in the air. Our golden retriever lay at our feet, hopeful for a dropped piece of dough. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 14 2012
Growing up, I was always giddy about Valentine’s Day. Yes it was totally awesome to wrap up a shoe box in sparkly pink paper and have prepubescent boys shove little notes in that said stuff like, “I like your hair” or, “Want to share my cheese?” But my parents always went out of their way to make me feel special on Valentine’s Day and that’s what I looked forward to the most. Read the rest of this entry →