Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bread, Glorious Bread

Continued apologies for my infrequent posts. My parents were visiting, we still don't have internet... it's the same old story. It has been a busy day, what with setting up the awning and putting out the spinnaker pole for the girls so they can swing into the water. Whew! I'm bushed.

We have moved closer to the Panama Canal, awaiting our appointment to haul the boat out and repaint the antifouling on the bottom of the hull. This means we have left the palm trees and sandy beaches of Kuna Yala behind. It also means that we can restock on supplies. This is important because we haven't bought food except from local fishermen since we left Cartagena a month ago. And my parents gave us a breadmaker.

Ta da!

Back home, we were bread eaters. Toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch. I liked a certain brand of fancy multigrain. Erik and the girls liked proper German graubrot. The stuff we bought was bakery-fresh, and worth every cent. Alas, as with all things, availability and quality have been less than consistent as we pressed south. Sometimes we got lucky and found an awesome baker (mmm, Guatemala). Sometimes we were stuck with the local Wonderbread equivalent (country withheld). But wherever we went, two-thirds of our freezer space went to bread storage, insurance against dark days we knew were to come.

Over time, I learned to make my own bread (occasionally) and pizza dough (more often). We made cookies and bread balls and pancakes, and generally compensated for our uncertain bread supply. So, when my parents offered us a breadmaker, I was delighted. Fresh bread! More freezer space for meat and other perishables! When I did my month-long provisioning run before we left Colombia, I decided to be conservative and buy extra flour in anticipation of the new machine. We had four pounds of flour on hand, and I bought another thirteen. Seventeen pounds of flour - it seemed ridiculously generous. It was going to turn into a weevil hotel before we could ever use it all up.

Loaf 1.0
 When the machine arrived, we were like kids at Christmas. Make cinnamon raisin bread! Olive bread! Try the Firm setting! Bake a chocolate cake! Make pizza dough! And we did. We ran through that recipe book like we'd never eaten starch before, cooking two and sometimes three loaves of delicious bread each day. We set the timer to have it ready just before breakfast, and usually had the machine refilled for a second run before the elements had cooled. We gorged. Our bellies became - pardon the expression - doughier. And my flour stocks dwindled.

My parents had only been with us for a week when I realized we were going to run out of flour. I calculated that we had enough flour for one loaf per day until they left - no more. No more cakes. No more oven-fresh thick slices. The rationing began.

We barely made it through the week. Erik miraculously found a further four pounds of flour in Carti when he dropped my parents off. Hooray! But still, two passengers lighter, we were still careful with our bread. Who knew when we would find flour again?

We sailed to Portobello, rejoining the world of towns and stores. We stopped into a mini-super (a term I love), aka a store the size of my old living room. And they had flour. And I bought seven pounds. That should last the week, shouldn't it? Hooray for bread! Flabby tummies, be damned!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yum Bread. Love, love love that machine! I am tempted to buy one for Dad & me too but dare not for obvious reasons.
Love Mom