October 18, 2013

Seeking Intentionality in the Kitchen

Pilgrim's Bread from More with Less
Lately, I've been a seeker of "intentionality" in the kitchen. This year is Year Two of learning how to make meals and cook for others, but lately I've been exploring how to take the time to make foods from scratch. Most of our weekly meals are from scratch, because it's so much cheaper to purchase individual ingredients and take the time to put them together yourself. I've been exploring how to make bread, granola, sprouting alfalfa, and now peanut butter. Just call me a BVS Homesteader! No, don't. I have no idea what I'm doing.

These things take time to make. I took almost all of Sunday afternoon to make bread last week. Alfalfa and Mung Bean sprouts take 4 days to fully sprout. Making peanut butter requires a little more planning than reaching into the cupboard to grab the jar. They take patience. Bread takes time to rise. Seeds take days to sprout. Food processors are loud and require lots of grinding from whole peanut to peanut powder to peanut butter. Making things from scratch has been a testing of my patience.

Peanut Butter
Banana + Sweet Potato + Oatmeal Muffins

I like to think that I am a patient person – slow to anger and willing to take time or wait things out. However, I also know I struggle with both of those things. I have a quick tongue that can react out of spite or I’m become tired of talking and what things to be settled already. Baking bread has been the most obvious practice in patience recently. The oatmeal bread took more waiting that the Pilgrim’s bread. The Oatmeal Bread requires me to combine boiling water with oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter (a delicious combination!). Then I have to wait for the water to become lukewarm, so that I am able to add yeast without killing it. Then I must knead the bread and wait for it to rise. Then I "punch" it peacefully down and wait for more rising. Then I can place it into bread loaf pans and place it in the oven and wait for it to bake.

Oatmeal Bread from More with Less
Baking bread has become a wonderful way to multi-task while waiting for water to cool or bread to rise. The 20-40 minutes in between activities leaves room for conversation with housemates around the kitchen table or letter writing to loved ones. Waiting invites space for relationship. Waiting is sacred. We wait expectantly for Christ’s arrival each advent, the Israelites waited in Babylon, and we wait for 40 days for Jesus’ resurrection each Easter. I wait for bread to rise and fill the present moment with living.

And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9

1 comment:

  1. Pilgrim's Bread (using the More-with-Less recipe) is my husband's favourite! We've just moved, and all my recipe books are still hiding in boxes. I'm glad I copied it into my computer file! Today I'll bake bread for the first time in my "new" kitchen. I've already done a batch of dinner rolls (buns as we call them) and two batches of buttermilk biscuits, but toasted bread will be a treat with our vine-ripened tomatoes!