Feeding My Disappointment

I didn’t expect to be writing a post this week.  I expected to be at the IOLI lace convention in St. Paul.  But here I am, at home, sulking a bit….

I’ve had some health issues that are too boring to write about, and I ended up in the hospital on the night before my flight.  I spent the weekend recuperating, which mostly means sleeping, and I was just barely awake for a moment or so on Saturday afternoon right when my flight took off.  Why couldn’t I have slept through that?

I’m missing a class in Chrysanthemum lace which sounds so intriguing!  It is lots of little free form pieces, mostly of a tear drop or paisley shape, that are assembled together in a technique called ‘sewing’ that does not involve the kind of sewing one would do to hem a skirt or make a seam, but which I believe involves bringing up loops through the edges of the lace that are then closed to connect the separate pieces of lace together.  I know.…that wasn’t a very good description at all.  I cannot do better because I haven’t learned it yet.

Here is a little detail of the ‘sewing’ process:

From this book….

This book cover gives a good idea of the little curved paisley pieces of lace that are made and assembled into the Chrysanthemum. I imagined myself making a simpler flower that could be used to embellish a silk blouse.  The lace was to be pale pink on my imaginary bone white silk blouse….

My class was to be each morning for the week, and I envisioned myself doing lace through the afternoons, shopping in the vendors’ hall, and seeing the lace poppy exhibit.

Today after class, I was going to rent a car to drive to the Swedish American Institute to see  Helena Hernamarck’s exhibition there.  Big, big sigh….

I only just tackled unpacking my suitcase today because yesterday the thought of unpacking brought me dangerously close to tears!  And for the rest of the day I have fed my disappointment….literally….

 I made my second batch of bread based on suggestions I got from a very interesting baker.  I bought a loaf of his artisanal bread at a local farmers’ market and learned that in addition to baking he also owns a local Italian restaurant in Old Saybrook. He bakes bread based on ratios of flour/water/yeast/salt instead of any specific recipe, and he always uses a starter.  I usually use a starter too, but my bread is not nearly as good as his!  He gave me his ratios (which he learned at the San Francisco Baking Insitute), and he gave me a large bag of high gluten flour.  He suggested two starter methods:  a ‘poolish’ which you make yourself, and a ‘biga’ which is based on using leftover pizza dough.  My first batch was based on my homemade ‘poolish,’ and the bread shown here is based on his ‘biga.’  Both techniques are delicious.  I won’t bother to describe how my husband lined my large oven with ‘reflective’ tiles, nor how I hurl a big scoop of ice cubes into the oven just after I put the bread in to bake….but these are important factors!

Along with bread, I made my first batch of pesto with basil from the garden, so dinner this evening will be pesto spread on cod filets.  Tomorrow I hope to pick the first tomato from the garden!  I will make a sandwich with my bread, spread on a little pesto,  sliced tomato, and a shaving or two of parmesan…. to assuage my disappointment….

I know this is absurdly off-topic, but really, there is nothing like a day in the kitchen to brighten my spirits….

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