AND OTHER STRATEGIES FOR PERSISTING THROUGH A LONG ILLNESS:
No, I’m not the sick one. But with a fifteen year old at home for six weeks (going back to school tomorrow–sound the trumpets here!), I have gathered a couple of tools for sustaining myself and my son through the duration. The most concrete and remarkable for me has been undertaking to make fresh organic bagels because organic wheat is now central to my son’s sustained good health. I increased my odds for success by adhering strictly to the America’s Test Kitchens recipe with the addition of using organic all-purpose flour. (Costco is currently carrying an organic brand which you will find under the newly minted green label in the baking aisle. I do love those green labels--everything organic is so easy to find!)
If the poetry of handling food in the kitchen eludes you at the moment, see David Ignatow’s The Bagel to better understand how I can be “strangely happy with myself.” I found his bagel poem on Billy Collins’ Poetry 180.
For my first attempt, I refrigerated the bagels overnight and baked them twenty minutes out of the fridge, dunked them in boiling water for 35 seconds, and then baked them in a 450 degree oven, as instructed. They were really bagelly-looking, but a little puny in dimension. So this morning I let my second batch sit on the counter a little longer before the hot bath and remembered to turn the bagels right-side-up onto the drying rack before baking them. Success! Chewy, more flavorful for a slightly longer refrigeration time (18 hrs.) and golden brown–perfect!
We all know carbs make the world go round. This is especially true after 52 episodes of Psyche (coping skill #2). I must impress upon you the fact that working in the kitchen is often my favorite creative station when I am not busy writing, and even though I must remain mostly gluten-free for my own health, this was a very satisfying experience. Thank you, Costco and Baking Illustrated/Cook’s Magazine for the terrific support. My son thanks you, too!
For more information about Rachel Barton, see my About Page.