Dear Josie and Maggie,
Because you have said that Snow Days in your memories include food baking in the kitchen, I am copying today’s two recipes here in case you want to make them years and years from now.
This is a pretty weird year and I often wonder if you will remember the good or the bad. Most recently, a writer I respect but don’t enjoy, said this about now and I’m on board. Here’s hoping that you are about to enjoy pumpkin bread in your own future, wherever it is.
This is Nana’s pumpkin bread and there is some kind of story behind it. I called her to get it but she is out playing bridge, Puppa says.
Nana’s Pumpkin Bread
1. 2 2/3 c. Sugar
1. 2/3 c. Oil
220.127.116.11. 4 eggs
3. 2 tsp. Baking soda
3. 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
3. 3/4 tsp. Salt
3. 1 tsp. Cinnamon
4. 3/1/3 cup flour
5. Mix well.
6. 2/3 cup water
7. 1 cup nuts (we never do that, but instead add an entire package of mini chocolate chips if we want to add something)
8. Mix well again.
Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans and cook at 300 degrees F for 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Pour into 3 greased and floured loaf pans and cook at 300 degrees F for 55 minutes.
I suspect you could make muffins if you wanted.
They tend to need a few more minutes to cook. And sometimes I cook them at 325.
Honey Oatmeal Bread
You probably know this already, because by now I have probably found you a used copy, but one of the seminal cookbooks of our family is the Portland Symphony Cookbook. Sometime in the 70’s a fancy Women’s Committee of the Portland Symphony Orchestra held fancy dinners and eventually produced a cookbook. We make a lot of things from it and if a cookbook yields even 2 or 3 wonderful recipes, it is considered a good one. This one includes Baklava, Fudge Pie, Carrot Dill soup, and Honey Oatmeal Bread among other things. I have modified the bread over the years so here is my version:
In a large bread bowl pour 2 cups of boiling water over 1 cup of rolled oats (not instant). Let it sit for half an hour or so. Add 1/2 cup honey, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of melted honey. Once that is all mixed in, add two packages of yeast and let it sit until the mixture is foamy (because the yeast is alive and hungry). Add flour until it holds together and knead 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. (About 5 cups of flour).
Scrape out the bowl you used with a scraper or whatever so that most of the loose bits are gone and smooth some oil around it all. Put your ball of dough in, smoothing some oil over the top, and cover it with a wet, wrung-out, clean, dishcloth. Set it to rise somewhere warm–will take a couple hours–until the doughball is 2 times the size it started.
When it is doubled, punch it down and divide it in two, and then two again. Form balls of each quarter and place two side by side into each greased loaf pan. Drizzle a little melted butter over the top (or pat it on). Let it rise again some then put it into the preheated 325 degree oven for 50 minutes or so until brown and hollow sounding when tapped with the end of a knife. I think this last part is magical thinking and not particularly informative, but heck, your Nana does it, so I do.
In other news,
I’m reading Little Fires Everywhere, London Falling (audio reread), Great Expectations (for the first time thanks to Jean), Jane Unlimited, The Girl in the Tower, Shadow in Summer. Jim’s reading A Horse Walks into a Bar that I got him for Christmas. I’m not sure what you are reading right now, though Maggie, you might be reading a book on Korean Kpop dramas and Josie you might be reading Van Jones’ new book. Maggie, you have been drawing and logging into your google classrooms for school (even though there has only been one day of school yet in the 2nd term). Josie you have been working on college applications and texting Thomas, I suspect.
P.S. Before I could select “post”, you got into an argument over Nick eating the last Hobnob of Josie’s. He is now, apparently, banned from our house forever. It was to be Jim’s birthday present. That seems lame it me and the response outsized, but we’ll see. More love, but still your Mom