October 15, 2011

A poem: One of the World’s Oldest Languages

I soften the yeast in just-warm-enough water. Add sugar, Add salt. Add oil, Add nuts and spices. I stir the dough and add more flour, a quarter-cup at a time. I knead and wait. As the dough perfects itself (you’ll know it when it forms blisters), I oil a glass bowl, drop in the dough, and let it rise, until doubled in size, in a warm, not-drafty spot.   While the dough rises, I might read, or cook, or play games with the baby. When the hour is up, I greet the monstrous dough, so large and foamy. Slapped on the counter, it grudgingly sinks and sighs. Using my hands and my tapered pin, I meticulously form two perfect loaves, free from bubbles or bumps. And then in greased loaf pans, the dough rises again, pale and swollen. I slide the bread-in-waiting, into the preheated oven, and then I wait.   I wait first for the smell of warming bread to invade the house, conquering every room, drawing all of us to the kitchen. I wait for the loaves to brown and pull away from the pans, like reluctant toddlers who never want to hold hands.   I wait for […]