I've once again stumbled into the end of the year almost without noticing. Obviously, I noticed the snow and ice, the frigid air in my face as I biked to work in the predawn hours, the fast-approaching holidays, the winter festival breads I've been baking, but despite all that fall feels only a moment gone, summer, in its sun-washed brilliance, just a step behind. I stopped paying close attention somewhere in the past year and the time got away from me.
Unfortunately, the only thing I've found to keep me completely anchored to the moment, wide-eyed and wide open to the world around me, is heartbreak, and it's been a while since I've been split open in that way. Or perhaps that's not unfortunate, but in this brief, early morning moment of introspection, I find I miss the vulnerability heartbreak brings, the way the sorrow pins me to the present.
How do you stand steady in the here and now against the undertow of routine, work, and obligation, surrounded by clamoring screens and the frantically spinning media? How do I stay present even in the days and months when this business tries to swallow me whole, when it feels like I'm tumbling down from one day to the next without ever fully finding my footing?
Well, these are good questions to ponder through the slower months to come. In the meantime, there's one last farmers market, and I have a beautiful lineup of breads for you. Alongside the Mountain Rye, Smoky Vollkornbrot, and Red & White are three holiday breads: Challah, Chocolate Hazelnut Babka, and Pane Primitivo (1).
I finished up some key ingredients this week, which means that if you want Seriously Gingerbread or Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies, you'd better come early. There are no scones. You'll just have to eat a slice of Babka instead. Don't worry, it won't be a hardship.
And now that I've whiled away the morning on these unexpected musings, it's time and past to bundle up and ride over to the kitchen.
Put on your woolies and down and come to visit me today at the last farmers market of the season!
See you soon.
(1) If this last name is unfamiliar, it's because I made the bread up. It's now built on the flavors of earthy buckwheat, sweet-sour dried apricots, and toasted hazelnuts, but it was inspired, once upon a time, by an Italian chestnut bread recipe called Pane Brughiera. I thought this a wonderfully romantic name until an old Italian told me that Brughiera does not mean the border between field and forest as the cookbook claimed, but a wasteland.