… a loaf of bread …

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          A great many years ago my lady and I were traipsing around the East Coast, in Nova Scotia I believe, when we stumbled upon a food that took both of us by surprise. I don’t remember what attraction we were visiting but we decided to eat lunch in the attached tea room /restaurant. The main course was the stuff we usually dined on at the time, seafood of one sort or another. Whatever it was did not impress. What did impress, and stayed with us ever since, was the small loaf of home-made bread that came with it. When we asked, we were informed that the cook had brought some in. The rich, dark, slightly sweet bread, baked in a circular pan was her own oatmeal molasses bread. We sent her our compliments and bought the two loaves left to take away.

          The taste and texture of that marvelous bread remained with us for the longest time. Although we didn’t usually get bread from a bakery, any time we did my lady would ask if they made oatmeal molasses bread. We never did find any in any commercial establishment, nor come across anyone who made it at home. My lady did find a recipe and tried to surprise me for a birthday once, but either she or the recipe lacked something. It was a pitiful flop, and soon forgotten.

          This Friday I was coming home from Dundas. I needed some groceries, including bread, and stopped in the large new Fortinos in West Hamilton. I picked up some milk and meat, then stopped to pick out a loaf of bread. There, among the loaves of store-baked breads (not the commercial bakery stuff) were two loaves of a dark-crusted bread labelled “Oatmeal Molasses Bread.” My mouth watered; I immediately grabbed one.

When I got it home, I inspected my treasure. I cut off the end. Something was wrong, but something was oh so right too. This loaf had the right colour, the right smell, promised all the delights still engraved deep in my memory, but …   The bread I remembered was firm and dense. This bread was light,  almost airy, as if too much yeast had been used or the dough hadn’t been punched down often enough. However, I did not let that flaw stop me. I made a special little trip for a small tub of butter (you shouldn’t insult a great bread with other spreads) and lunched on bread and butter. Mindfully, I have made the loaf last for three meals. I have come close to culinary heaven. Again.

          Only the two flaws to stop perfection from touching me. As I said before, the loaf was softer than I would like. The other? My lady is no longer here to share this experience.

          This will not be the last time!

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What? Me Worry?

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A funny thing happened to me downtown the other day. I lost a tooth. Not like a little kid whose teeth are being replaced naturally – those come loose, fall out, leave a gap and room for the next one. No, I had gone through my allotted sets of natural teeth and am currently working on  my fourth.

Now this is a relatively new set of teeth, aged thirteen months (approximately), and had settled well in their new environment. They have been treated well, bathed at decent intervals and kept clean, and never asked to perform tasks for which they have not been trained. Even the materials which they handle every day has not placed excessive strain on them. I thought we worked together well.

And then I was betrayed by one, one half of the leadership team at that! Without prior complaint or warning, the left top incisor disappeared. Suddenly. In public, in the midst of a crowd!

It happened at Soupfest, Hamilton’s annual taste of winter competition where eating establishments vie for best and most creative soup titles with proceeds to charity. I had supped on a broth with venison and veggies, savored a wild boar and kangaroo stew, basked through a bowl of sweet coconut curry, and was sipping an intriguing garlic, ale and Stilton liqueur when my front tooth abandoned me.

Oh, the shame and embarrassment! To be left looking like a double for MAD magazine’s famous cover boy, Alfred E. Newman! My own famous smile sullied in the sight of all the world!

I rushed home. I refused to smile for days. To heap insult upon injury, a crippling snow storm kept any semblance of help away from its office, while I was forced to brave the elements to fulfill contractual obligations. I could neither hide nor hibernate.

Finally this morning I came face to face (what’s left of mine) with the denturist who fashioned this mutinous tooth. I know where it’s hiding but I have abandoned it. That tooth may suffocate in the stench of my lower bowel; I hope it doesn’t see daylight again! Meanwhile it is being replaced by one worthy of its function and title: the Most Honourable and Gracious Front Tooth!

So there.