Not By Bread Alone

 The title is somewhat misleading because, for the purposes of fulfilling my caloric needs, I could subsist primarily on bread.  As far as fulfilling my emotional needs I have a job that I love that allows me to make regular deposits to the cosmic karma bank.  You can love a job even if it isn't easy.  Mothers know that, but they happen to really love the people they work with.

Me with some people I love and love working with.

If you are surrounded by love, support and validation, even the most difficult work becomes a pleasure.  The first job I ever had was at Godfather's Pizza.  The first job I ever loved was waiting tables at the Trellis restaurant in Williamsburg-- mainly because of my coworkers, but the tips and post shift staff meal and beer certainly helped.  It taught me you really should not swallow every sip of wine at a wine tasting prior to working a dinner shift, and more importantly it was the beginning of a life-long love affair with cooking.  One of our favorite things to do was eat any leftover bread from the bread baskets--remember, I was a starving college student at the time.  My favorite was their sturdy Irish soda bread:

4 cups bread flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs

Place dry ingredients in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Stir briefly to combine, then add herbs.  Mix buttermilk and oil and stream in with mixer running.  Mix on low for 30-40 seconds until combined, scrape down sides and mix an additional 30-40 seconds until it gathers into a ball.  Remove from mixer and knead until smooth.  Form a round loaf, brush with beaten egg and cut an "x" into the top.  Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped.  These days I preheat oven with a pizza stone in place and then bake loaf on top.  You can also use a cookie sheet.

Cool completely on a rack.  Serve with butter.  Eat standing up while your table is waiting for their drink order.

What kind of person doesn't finish their bread?