"Baking makes me focus. On weighing the sugar. On sieving the flour. I find it calming and rewarding because, in fairness, it is sort of magic - you start off with all this disparate stuff, such as butter and eggs, and what you end up with is so totally different. And also delicious."
-- Marian Keyes
Sourdough produces bread with many benefits. You can raise your own sourdough starter on the countertop or in the fridge. It has many uses. See Graham's sourdough crock.
See the Finn family bread signs.
The laundry room hangs a sign on the door to show when bread is rising in there, "Happiness is the smell of freshly baked bread." The kitchen has one that says, "Bake the world a better place."
Boys and men often resist talking about their problems. There are ways to encourage people to talk, and talk to someone who won't open up. Don't try to force people to talk, which is abusive and violates their boundaries.
Comfort baking is a way to practice self-care through food.
5-minute Artisan Bread is quick and easy once the dough is set up. While you can make many different shapes from this dough, it is most often used to make small round boules, which are fantastic for practicing your slash techniques. They also make great bread bowls for stew.
Homemade Sourdough Bread has a complex flavor.
Easy Traditional Irish Stew uses lamb meat and vegetables. Cooking meat with the bone in gives more flavor and nutrients, but you have to be careful when eating it.
Winter salad includes ingredients available in the cold season. Unlike here, T-America offers winter mix salad greens as well as spring mix. It features salad greens that grow well in autumn to winter. Winter Sunrise salad has Bull's Blood red beet sprouts, baby Bright Lights swiss chard, yellow frisée endive, red frisée endive, Scarlet Frills mustard, and golden purslane. Toppings include white jicama ribbons, yellow grapefruit, and pink grapefruit. Dressing options include citrus vinaigrette or raspberry vinaigrette. The Finn version of Citrus Vinaigrette uses zest from both lemons and oranges, Meyer lemons when available.
There are various ways to encourage people to try new foods, which may take many attempts before it leads to actually eating the food. Exposure to new foods increases the chance of someone tasting them. Multisensory learning helps by inviting people to look at, touch, smell, and otherwise explore food before tasting it. Shiv will eat damn near anything if he's hungry -- but he doesn't like leaves much, and he didn't get a good introduction to healthy food while growing up. Almost everything he ate was canned, frozen, or boxed and the little fresh produce was crummy stuff like iceberg lettuce and Red Delicious apples. Elisabeth is giving him the same baby-step lessons he should have gotten as a toddler, and it's working.
A cleaver is a heavy knife for cutting meat.
Jaliya's heatable meals include things like Salmon, Brown Rice, and Asparagus or Shrimp on Peppers and Onions.
A lazy Susan, like this white marble model, serves many purposes in a kitchen.
Bakers use a blade to score the bread dough and create beautiful patterns. The problem is that people are using either a craft blade, a razor blade, or a lame -- all of which are lousy for making good swift slashes. Why? For that type of motion, you cut with the "belly" of the blade, which is the curved part under the point. None of those examples have a belly! They're straight. Cutting with a straight edge or a corner, like cutting with a dull blade, is prone to dragging. What you want for good slashes is a blade with a nice, long belly. Plenty of kitchen knives have this feature, but they're not sharp enough. What blade has a belly and the sharpest edge of all? A scalpel. Sizes 22, 24, and 36 are big long blades with different shapes of curve and point. Plus they're meant to be disposable, so they're cheap; if you want, you can use a new blade every time you bake bread. I imagine that Elisabeth Finn figured this out after about ten minutes, and practiced her scalpel strokes on bread dough -- because you need exactly the same kind of quick, confident, controlled motion for slashing bread as for surgery. Watch videos of simple, intermediate, and advanced scoring techniques.
Browse some simple patterns for scoring bread. These are more complex patterns. Notice that Elisabeth creates a lesson plan by choosing patterns with similar concepts and increasing complexity. The first set just increases density of straight lines. The second begins with variations on straight lines, then moves into curves. The third is all curve of increasing challenge.
Boule is a French word for a small round loaf. Read instructions or watch a video on making them.
This image shows bread scoring patterns on different loaf shapes.
Adinkra symbols come from Africa. Most are too complicated for bread scoring, but some are achievable with a deft hand.
There are actually two ways to make dinner rolls that look like little fans. One is to slash the tops with parallel lines as described in this poem. The other is to roll out the dough, cut it in squares, and stack those sideways into the cups of a muffin tin.
Learn how to make bread bowls. These work great with any thick, hearty soup.