At different times in life when I've found myself unmoored because of a move, a job change, or some such major shift in a settled routine, I've tended to reach for something steady. Aside from steady faith, the steady man by my side, and the steady roll of parenting, I've found that taking hold of a smaller steady - a new skill or a new interest - has been just the thing to get me across to other side. They're small things, in the grand scheme, sure, but they're reliable nonetheless and have helped me hold a purpose when life's a bit unfamiliar.
Twice, we've lived for weeks in hotels while waiting for an impending move to materialize. More than once, we've house-sat, gypsy-style with only our most necessary possessions in tow. Five years ago, we lived a winter in a camper while waiting for the little house to be built. Then, there've been times when my husband's work has taken him away for long stretches, and suddenly the routine shifts. At times like this, I can hover, hold, and wait, or, I can hover, hold, wait, and scoop the extra time I have on my hands and do something with it.
During one such time, I developed a keen interest in baking bread that wouldn't require a stand mixer or long amounts of my time spent kneading. Enter this book. No-knead bread dough, waiting in the fridge for a quick cloak, rise, and bake whenever the muse might strike? It all sounded wonderful, and I was ready to try, save for two key obstacles: lack of a large non-plastic refrigerator container in which to store a batch of dough, and a refrigerator large enough to hold the container (campers aren't known for their sizable refrigerator situations).
Fast forward several years. In a recent random Etsy search, I came across an large vintage enamel refrigerator dish, with a lid, that was perfect for a batch of dough! Re-inspiration for that long-ago interest came bubbling right back. Because, artisan bread shouldn't be saved only for unsettled times.
It's been a week, and I've baked a few loaves. Still testing, still tweaking, still getting the hang of it. Still watching the loaves disappear within minutes before ravenous boys.
Though I'm still a way off from a final review, I can say that, fresh-baked bread is steadying, indeed, no matter what.