“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
– Bill Watterson
Saturday morning, I woke to the quiet pitter-patter of rain on the tin roof. I love days like that. Sleepy and quiet, with a coolness in the air that hints at the crispness of Autumn.
Those days are perfect for curling up on the couch with hot tea and a good book. In the middle of summer, they are also well-suited to baking, which is something I enjoy greatly.
My day began with a cup of vanilla cinnamon tea, which is one of the coziest beverages I have ever had, and the new Jane Austen movie on Netflix, “Persuasion”. I have read the book a few times, of course, but I just had to watch the movie. I’m a huge fan of Dakota Johnson. My son watched it with me and, to my own amazement, loved it. Who would’ve thought a boy of thirteen years would love anything Jane Austen?
After the movie, I made my way to the kitchen. Once all of my ingredients were lined up neatly on the counter, I set to preparing the two recipes that I had decided on during the movie. Pumpkin bread and sweet molasses brown bread.
Because it needs time to rise, be kneaded, and rise again, I started with the molasses bread. Things that take time should always come first. Once I had the dough in a bowl, covered and left to rise, I moved onto the pumpkin bread. Yes, it’s summer. No, I don’t care. Pumpkin is one of my very favorite things any time of year. As a matter of fact, I am currently growing sugar pie pumpkins in my garden to can for use throughout the year.
The batter came together quite quickly, as any batter of that manner does. Making short use of time, I transferred it to a loaf pan and placed it in the oven where it baked for about an hour and a half. My house had the most delicious aroma for the entire duration. Warm and reminiscent of late Fall; cozy and inviting.
The end result was absolute perfection. Cloves lent a spiciness that stayed on your tongue and left you tingly inside. A crispy outer crust provided the most sensational bit of crunch. And the flavor was immeasurably pleasing. It made me long for the turning of the leaves, the coolness in the air, and snuggly socks.
My children loved it as well. Ava, my oldest daughter, may have consumed half the loaf herself. She even paired it with dollop of Cool Whip at one point. All of them asked me to please make it again soon. I love that they all find such delight in my middle-of-summer pumpkin cravings.
When the baking was done and the bread dough was still rising, we cleaned the house. There is nothing better than a clean house. It is both soothing to the soul and comforting to the ever-anxious mind. By the time it was clean, the rain ceased for a little while. Cadence and I walked out to the garden to gather fresh tomatoes, not fully expecting the number of them that would be ready to come into the house.
These delicious little fruits will be turned into salsa or tomato sauce and canned for use over the coming winter. Part of the joy in growing things during the warmer months is preserving them for use in the cold months. Living simply and in the moment, preparing things with your own hands, is an experience beyond all experiences. It is something that I recommend to everyone. It is a form of therapy that money cannot buy and no doctor can provide.
I did make time to read the book, by the way. In the quiet evening hours as I was settling in and relaxing my mind, readying myself for sleep.
With that, I bid you a happy and fruitful week.