Sunday, July 3, 2011

Science, delight, or both? Ana loves baking bread.

Ana can barely remember her childhood on the planet Thomo, so long ago, but she keenly remembers the smell of baking bread. Psychologists say the sense of smell is our most powerful sense, after all. Thomans don't have wheat, but they have other grains, from which they make an assortment of dishes as we do from the grains of Earth. Ana has loved wheat in all its variations ever since her first experience with tortillas and pizza (in Distant Cousin).

She has employed her scientific side in exploring the possibilities in baking. She has made small, yeast rising rolls some of which she has allowed to rise and bake, others to rise half way, freeze, and bake later, and some to rise fully, to be frozen and baked days after, in order to compare the results. She has similarly compared the use of butter, oil, lard, Crisco, and other variables in the baking process, and she has experimented with varieties of baked items across cultures: Czech, German, French, Mexican, Italian, and many more. The baking process is a miracle of nature to her.

She treasures a poem about baking, which touches on the mystery of making and baking bread. Its imagery is so vivid that it often prompts her to make bread herself, just as Pablo Neruda's poem about tomatoes makes her mouth water, and the recipe poem about orange/cranberry relish brings the lavish Thanksgiving table to her mind.

Oddly enough, the poem is titled "Graduation Speech," by Charles F. Pratt. If you right click it and open it in another window, you can easily sample more of Ana's favorite food poems in the column to the right, under the photo of cranberry/apple pie. With only baking in mind, for example, there are these:

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