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Bread is the Answer

Amber Adrian

Last night I baked bread for the first time.

It was garlic rosemary pull-apart bread, and I’m quite smug about the way it turned out.

I kneaded the dough like I’ve watched every single episode of The Great British Bake-Off (which I have) and knew exactly what I was doing (which I don’t).

Bread baking is something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time but since I haven’t had an oven in five years, opportunities have been thin on the ground. After moving into a house equipped with more than a dorm fridge and a hot plate (garden cottages are magical but not if you want to engage in cooking anything more complex than soup), it took me precisely 25 days to get my first batch of bread in the oven.

Yes, I am terribly proud of myself. Doing things just because they’re fun, just because I want to, is something I’ve gotten noticeably bad at recently. Baking some bread turned out to be a solid way to shift that particular tide.

Bonus: kneading dough is quite satisfying.

Creative people are happiest when they’re making things, and I’m a big fan of having hobbies that you don’t have to be good at, that you can play with just because you want to, just because it’s fun. It alleviates the stress of being a wild perfectionist of doing a creative thing that you’re being paid for or building a business around. I really want to type “ugh” or “stupid bills” here, but I’m spending a reasonable portion of my time re-wiring myself around money and that seems like a step in the wrong direction.

If money is reading this, I love you! Let’s hang out! I have a very nice bank account for you to stay in.

My usual methods for cultivating the child-like wonder that soothes my soul are brightly colored converse, a weird obsession with giraffes, and a willingness to utilize empty swing sets to the best of my ability. But I have plenty of giraffes and hot pink shoes, and there aren’t any public playgrounds nearby.

(However, the new house could definitely support both a foster giraffe and a swing set. There are already plans for a goat train and a cat-copter so the kitties can better chase hummingbirds.) (Maybe lack of childlike shenanigans aren’t my problem.)

So, bread baking. Next on my list is singing lessons. Not because I’m good at singing, but because I want to sing. I want to take my Not Great Singing and make it Better Singing. I want to see what progress I can make, when I’m not already good at something. Like most people, I tend to gravitate toward the things I have some talent at, because the ego enjoys nothing better than being good at things.

But I know that creative endeavors fuel more creative endeavors (please note my first blog post in six weeks!) and so I am stating this here and now so I don’t forget again:

Making things is fun. You are happiest when you are making things. Make more things. If you can’t make the thing you were planning to make, make another thing, until the first thing shakes loose.

When all else fails, bake yourself garlic rosemary bread in a place where you can walk out into the garden and pluck rosemary straight from a bush in the ground, which is apparently where rosemary comes from.