Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The bread of life

I'm making bread today (son and I get through a LOT of bread), so thought I would post a poem I wrote ages ago. It came out of a writing challenge to describe your favourite food. I think I was supposed to come up with something lyrical and beautiful (probably along the lines of Julie Cohen's terrific sex-and-chocolate workshop), but being on the contrary side and feeling somewhat hassled at the time, I produced this instead.

It, er, didn't win - but the bread tasted good.

No Mystery by Jan Jones

There’s no mystery to bread
... provided you remember to get the bowl out the night before
... to remind you when you stumble eyes half-closed into your
... early morning kitchen to

Get out the frozen yeast
Defrost for half an hour
... or as long as it takes to force your body awake with that
... first shock of coffee, get the children up and dressed,
... put the washing on, make the packed lunches...

Meanwhile rub the butter into the flour
... I made the coffee with just hot water and milk once - I
... still remember the surprise that I could actually
... taste the difference that time in the morning

Add some salt and make a well in the middle
Add sugar to the yeast then pour on
Two-thirds cold water, one third boiling
... using the rest for a second cup of gulped-down, searing coffee
Mix and pour into the flour well
Sprinkle with flour
Cover with a tea towel and leave to froth
... meanwhile turning off the Nintendo, cramming feet into shoes,
... plaiting hair, wiping faces, finding bags...

Knead together well
... when you get back from school after two false starts. Why
... do they always remember things thirty seconds out of the door
... and not the night before despite you asking?

And leave to rise in a warm place
... like money for the cake stall and oh, yes, the lace is broken on
... one of my trainers and I need it today, Mum, and -

Knock back
... when you get home from the supermarket
... weary in body and wallet

Divide into two oiled tins
Leave to rise again
... while you make a cup of tea this time, unpack the shopping,
... get the washing out of the machine, hang it up...

Then cook for twenty-eight minutes in a hot oven.

No, the only mystery to bread is what shops do to make it
So devoid of life.



Julie Cohen said...

That made me smile. Thank you.

Jan Jones said...

Thanks, Julie. Job done, then!