Sunday, December 20, 2009

FRIENDship bread? Ha. Slave Bread.

If there's two things I am not good at,  it's baking... and commitment. (There's way more than that, I just said IF there were two...) So how the hell did I end up in possession of one of those damn friendship bread starters? I am just the temporary custodian -- or babysitter, actually -- as it's a gift for my Mom that was dropped off on my deck last week. (And then checked up on last night when the gift-giver dropped by for post-game chili -- had I massaged it? had I fed it? -- I had not. I had just put it back on the deck when I ran out of fridge real estate. I was sharply rebuked, because the instructions clearly say: do not refrigerate. (I just had not read them.)

The instructions also say:
do not use any metal spoons or bowls; if air gets in the bag, let it out; it is normal for the batter to rise and ferment. And this is followed by a whole list of Day 1 thru Day 10. On Day 6 (which is apparently today): add to the bag 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of cold milk. Then mash the bag. (What it got was flour, sugar, and half and half.)

On Day 10 -- when my mother is supposed to get this for Christmas, here is the List:
  • pour entire contents of bag into NON-metal bowl;
  • add 1 and a half cups of flour, 1 and a half cups of sugar; and one and a half cups of milk. (Alternately, you may add only one cup of each ingredient; and then you will only divide the starter into 3 one-gallon-size Ziploc bags.)
  • Write the date on 4 one-gallon size Ziploc bags;
  • measure out four separate batters (1 cup each) and put into the four one-gallon size Ziploc bags.
  • Write Day One and the current date on each bag. 
  • Use the batter left in the starter bag to make the bread below (11 ingredients and six steps);
  • Keep one of the bags for yourself as a starter, and give the other three bags to friends along with a copy of the recipe. [Obviously, this Recipe defines the term "friend" in a different manner than I do.]
  • If you don't pass the starter to your friends on the first day, be sure to tell them which day the bread is on with the reminder that Day 1 is the date written on the bag.
NOTE: if you keep a starter for yourself, you will be baking every 10 days. However, you can freeze a starter. The cycle begins when the starter is thawed.

And my response to all this is:
  1. are you fucking kidding me? and
  2. you do know there are bakeries that will do this kind of thing for you? (there are three within walking distance of my house)
Friendship bread my ass. It should come with a Sitter. It's worse than a chain letter. This is not a present, so much as it is a pet, and I can bet you money right now, I will somehow manage to accidentally kill it before it gets to my mother.

I can not, for the life of me, figure out how the giver of this particular batch ever came to be in possession of this batter in the first place. She does not cook. She does not bake. Her fridge and oven are mere storage vessels for carry-out.

And I should also point out that when she first dropped off her child to my house ten or so years ago for her very first sleepover, that this baby did not come with a List this long. In fact, I don't think she came with a single instruction -- just a few of her favorite snacks and maybe the number of her pediatrician or something. I don't know -- I managed not to break her anyway; I returned her in one piece; and she's been allowed to come back regularly ever since. In fact, about the only maintenance she requires is a steady supply of broccoli (her favorite food).

The worst mishap we've ever had was when I accidentally dumped her out of her stroller onto the pavement at the fourth of July parade when she was a toddler because I couldn't figure out the stoopid parking brake -- the poor kid was frantically trying to scrub all the blood off her knees while advising "quick, quick! get me up! get me up!" She wasn't hurt, but she was obviously distressed, so as I was stuffing her back into the stroller I was trying to explain that she wasn't in any trouble, to which she responded, "no, no, not Me. You, you." She was just trying to cover for me and keep me from getting busted when her mom came back with the ice cream and saw I'd managed to scrape the sidewalks with her baby.

Other than that, I have generally managed to keep her safe, healthy, happy, entertained, and relatively uninjured whenever in my care.

But I guarantee I will kill this bread before it ever makes it to its appointed destination.

1 comment:

  1. How she got possession of the wicked bread chain is that someone else gave it to her, and they got it from someone else. That horrid stuff's still going around after all this time? Sheesh! Sadly, people at my church got suckered in by this insidious goop chain. The end result, the bread itself is just a chocolate cinnamon thing, not bad if you like that sort of thing, but just give me a regular cinnamon bun or toast, or something chocolate w/o cinnamon in it at all, any time. That stuff's a big viral nuissance. I am one of the last to encourage wasting food and tossing batter away, but I'd sooner do that than pass the monster gooey blob on to anyone else.