Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Roses and Bread in Portland

As I've mentioned, one thing that stops me in every walk I've taken here is the roses. They are everywhere, sometimes one or two, sometimes a yard full of them. They each have their own unique fragrance, spicy, sweet, pungent or barely there at all. Some are in the height of their glory, some are windblown, older, petals holding on waiting for a breeze to scatter them on the ground and sidewalks. The air signals their presence even before they are seen.

 This photo is, of course, not roses, but a tree with these 
brilliant orange berries that reminded me of home

I confess, I haven't been a big lover of roses. I went to a boarding school in Georgia one year, in a town noted for its roses and the smell was overwhelming to the point of sickening. Plus, it wasn't up there with being one of the best years of my life; a beach girl in an inland southern town, with customs I had no idea existed. 'Dragging Main Street', liking boys for their cars, a coyness that dripped with the falseness of covering a town in roses that had had a lynching only the previous year. So this one on one re-discovery of the beauty of roses is a good thing, overlaying cloying memories with new experiences. Sometimes, it just takes one.

 When I was loading these from the camera to the computer, I swear I could smell them...
I am beginning to really enjoy baking bread, something I was always pretty afraid of doing in the past. Even starting this latest time a few months ago had me worrying; checking, rechecking and then grading myself much more harshly than necessary. But the more I bake, the more the pleasure factor rises with the dough. Sure, there will be bombs ahead, but that's okay now, when the successes are so tangibly good. For someone to taste bread I've baked and get this blissful expression is like the rising all over again - 'It worked, it worked!'

Playing with bread, these are about a hamburger bun size, imperfect but good!
“I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?”
’Housekeeping In Old Virginia' Marion Cabell Tyree ed. (1878)

"[Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread."
M. F. K. Fisher, ‘The Art of Eating’ (if you aren't familiar with the writing of M.F.K. Fisher, find something, anything, that she has written; you're in for a treat)

We have learned to see in bread an instrument of community between men—the flavour of bread shared has no equal.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French pilot and poet (1900-1940)
A boule of rosemary garlic bread from yesterday's baking
Have a tasty Tuesday! Do something tempting.


  1. The first rose pic is the best, I think. After that comes the bread pictures!
    Makes me want to make bread!

  2. Food for the eye, food for the belly!

  3. So MJ, might we soon see a bill of fare of available varieties when you return to Isla Bonita?

    Inquiring minds and all that... :-)

  4. Doug, the simple answer is yes! I'll have a menu of sorts, choices, orders can be put in and a pick up day will be set. Probably 3 choices to start, maybe 4. I'm excited!