Sunday, March 15, 2015

Home baker (3/15/2015)

I’m a baker of bread.

Our whole wheat bread

Well you say that’s different, here the nomad talks about baking bread, and not his usual travel, observations of nature or even politics.  In addition doesn't the nomad have enough hobbies?  If you are a regular reader, you know I sail, bike, take photos, read, garden, love to cook, wood work (not lately), grow bonsai (although they have been neglected lately), and love my beers and wines.  In addition, I love to do a Sudoku so now and then as way of relaxing.  On top of that I have a full time job.  If I am not teaching he has a two and a half the three hour commute each day (an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half each way).  I might have mentioned that I love to lay brick and my wife and I have built all kinds of (good looking) structures in the yard (a shed and a wood shed).  I am getting tired from typing all this down for my blog (oops another hobby).  I guess this probably makes me mediocre in everything I do, or maybe not.

Why would a person do all this?  I really don’t know.  My mother always told me I know a little about a lot of things or as they say in the English language, that I was a Jack of All Trades but a Master of None.  Maybe it is escapism, attention deficit disorder, I don’t know; I think ADD was invented after I graduated from college.  I started to look up on Google the term "Jack of All Trades" and interestingly Wikipedia describes it as follows:

“Jack of all trades, Master of none” is a figure of speech used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills but is not outstanding in any particular one."

In his blog, David Mansaray laments that being competent inherently means that you have a certain level of mastery, so in a way the term is a contradiction in itself.  Yes, the blog by Mansaray is more than 4 years old I think, but it is still valid.  Sometimes I hear the words "Renaissance Person" which Wikipedia defines as:

"a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas"

Two fascinating concepts.

Oh well leave it to my mother to tell me which of the two I am.  But then I really do not think there is much difference between the two.  However, like Mansaray I strongly believe that it is important to be multifarious and I am not sure if society encourages this enough.  It seems we are more interested in specialists than in generalists.  I have this thirst to learn things, and I when I stop doing that, I'll stop living.  I still believe that my hands should be able to do what my eyes can see (maybe with the exception of buttoning the cover to the comforter in our bed).

Back to my bread making habit.  I really miss the European breads and the only bread that we find palatable at our house is one that we buy at Costco.  Lately we are seeing that even those loaves are slowly going down hill and that they have an overdose of salt in them.  This prompted me to revive one of the things I did when I was unemployed six years ago, and that is baking bread.  (Here is a previous post on bread baking).  It really is not that difficult, and I have started making a whole wheat bread that is healthy and has really none of the bad things in it like corn syrup, azodicarbonamide, and L-Cysteine.  These chemicals do not belong in bread!  Moreover, my bread has no white flower in it, albeit a little malt which I bought at a shop for beer brewers.

In addition to the brown bread, I make a (Dutch) currant bread, which is such a success that I currently get orders (from my father-in-law).

The results of a Saturday of baking

The nice thing about baking is that it is meditative, it taste good, it is healthy and you have plenty of time between the rising and baking to pursue your other interests and hobbies.  Even when traveling it is good to be home, stay active and have good bread.

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