The pet rock thing went pretty well. I covered up all the furniture and I think that was key. For the less abstract among us, I also bought some little birdhouses on sticks for painting. And for the more physical among us, there was also crazy jumping on the bed and throwing things at Paul. There are a few kids and a lot of adults missing from this picture, but I'm guessing they were in the kitchen carbo-loading. I do what I can.
So. The book. I am not a person who ever considered baking my own bread/rolls/what-have-you and my venture into yeasted doughs pretty much begins and ends on New Year's Day every year. I grew up around homemade bread and it was the rule and not the exception to make most things from scratch (until Costco showed up, anyway). But not me. Enter Chicken and her ringing endorsement and here I sit with great surprise at how much I've loved and used this book in the last few weeks. I've tried and had great success with four doughs (the basic, challah, olive oil, and chocolate) to make boules, loaves, turban shaped raisin challah, pizza, calzones, sticky buns, and fougasse stuffed with feta and roasted red peppers. Sam's party food looked like a freaking edible press release.
Now, there are some errors in the book which are sort of big (check this page and go ahead and mark your book right away). Also, if you get hung up on the "Five Minutes" part, there's a small chance you'll be disappointed. While it's true-- actual hands on time is really short, the forethought involved for someone like me expands those minutes exponentially. What you should know, is that these recipes are really, very easy and if you follow the directions you will turn out some brilliant results. While the boules are smaller than what you might buy in the grocery store, if you leave it to cool all the way, it slices up nice and thin. The sweet breads all swelled nicely and made 8" rounds. In all this, we are actually eating less bread than usual, but we're eating it more mindfully which is a pretty happy thing.
I know making the food my family eats is far from revolutionary, but I will admit that enjoying the making experience sort of is. That makes all the difference here and the reason that I love this book/idea so much. Next up, I'm tackling the whole grain thing. And Amy has been loving on the oatmeal dough so that's near the top of the list. Also, I should get some exercise lest my middle starts to resemble a brioche or a couronne or worse, a pain d'epi.