Monday, October 8, 2012

Survival of the Cutest

I was so, so proud of the brown bread that I made yesterday. Before yesterday, I had never been able to make it as well as my husband's mother does. Not even close. Try making sandwiches with brick slices. I looked at the recipe yesterday and realized that somehow I had left out the salt when I wrote down her instructions. So I put a handful in and everything turned out perfectly. I think I added about ten bucks to our gas bill by keeping the stove on for a few hours, but there was nowhere else to let the dough rise in our (suddenly!) very cold house. Right before we went to sleep, we each had one glorious, steaming, sweet slice of bread with butter. I tucked the darling loaves into a brown paper bag to keep them moist, and kissed them goodnight.

This morning, as I rustled the paper bag to open it, a MOUSE shot out, scurried across the counter and leaped into the air like a skydiver. I was so upset. The first time I get the bread right, and an effing mouse poops in the bag. Well, I examined the precious things and they had miraculously escaped mastication by the intruder.

"Why would he just poop in the bag and neglect to munch on the bread?" I wondered, a little offended that the mouse hadn't found my homemade bread tempting.
"He was probably trying to find a warm place to sleep," my husband said.

Then my heart melted a little bit, because at the time I was changing my clothes in the early morning darkness, and I was cold. I thought of him smelling the bread and crawling up onto the counter. (Sick.) Perhaps he only hoped to find some little crumbs to nibble on (or to share with his wee little wife and baby mice? Do they do that?); then he was drawn by the scent into this enormous shelter, where two crackly monoliths exhaled a warm and dizzying perfume. The structure was full of this thick, soft air, and he got so drunk on bread-breath that he was no longer hungry. So he laid down between two big bosomy loaves and slept. And pooped. Anyway, I thought that sounded so nice that I didn't blame him, even though it still grossed me out.

We kept the bread. We've been cutting off the crusts (which is sad because they turned out great) and it's still heavenly. I guess one night of hospitality to a yucky cute little mouse isn't too much to ask.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my! That is something that (I hope?) never happened in all my years of bread-baking. It's good you were able to find a way to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and I love the picture in your mind of how it was for the mousie.

    I had the problem when I first began baking that because the bread was not very appetizing, it would take us a long time to use it, so that meant too long between baking sessions, and I couldn't get in the groove. I actually had to throw out a couple of failed loaves in the interest of my baker's education.

    Laurel's Kitchen tells how to use loaves with the shape and density of bricks by slicing them differently and thinking of them as pumpernickel. But you won't have need of that trick from now on!