Last night, I stayed up listening to Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery talk about her life & career. It wasn’t the glamor of listening to a chef talk about her work that captivated me, but the way she told her story. Straight, to the point. Matter of fact. She didn’t just gloss over the number of years it took her to start Flour or the difficulties she experienced along the way. She talked about working 6 days a week 4 am – midnight in New York & sleeping in her office during the early days of Flour. I’m not saying that I’m trying to open a bakery, but I’m saying that I needed someone to tell me that it’s ok to work as hard as you would like for the things you want. I needed to hear that sometimes you’re going to be the only person who thinks that what you are doing is the most important thing in the world.
I’m not afraid of hard work. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. I know it sounds strange, but I actually love the feeling of working on a project for a year or years, pouring myself into something I believe in. I’m revisiting an old book that I’ve been working on for since I was 18. In the book, one of the characters is consumed by her passion. It’s what keeps her awake at night. It’s why she finds herself staring off in the distance thinking about her next step. I’m not talking about passion in a blind feeling kind of way, but calculated precision.
Some days, I get caught up in the idea of what I should be doing rather than what I want to do. For the past year, I have been burying myself in books, staying up late reading and writing passages that are only meant to stay in my notebook. I’m fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who doesn’t think I’ve lost my mind when some weeks, I decide I want to work on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. One time, somebody told me that I was missing out on my 20’s. I’m still not sure what that means, but I know that lately I’ve been feeling more like I’m in the right place than ever before.
This morning, I raced the sun out of bed because I was excited to get my day started. Before going to work, I went for a run, stopped at the market & made breakfast & a loaf of bread. Surprisingly, I didn’t get to all the things I wanted to, but that isn’t the point. Yes, I believe in slowing down. Yes, I believe in savoring the small moments with my favorite people, but I also believe in putting it all on the line & finding the moments when everything just fades away.
I have been listening to the New Yorker fiction podcast on my way home from work these days. It seems like it’s the perfect traveling companion when I’m on my bike (except for the days I want to belt it out with my favorite pop divas or etc.). Today, I listened to Joyce Carol Oates read Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl. In her conversation after her reading, she left me with this gem I have been chewing on over a pot of tea. Happy Friday <3
“Most people in the world are quite mute. Many people have just died voiceless. People were not education & they all had stories, some of them quite painful. If one does not tell their stories then they’re completely lost, just lost.”
-Flax & Rolled Oat Whole Wheat Bread-
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbs agave syrup or honey
3/4 tbs instant yeast
1.5 cups warm water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp flax seed
1 tsp hemp seed
Combine warm water & yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 5-7 minutes, or until the contents are foamy. Stir in honey, salt & flour. Lift the dough out of the bowl and lightly grease the inside. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover & let rise until the dough has doubled in size. This should take about 1 hour in a warm location.
After your dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough to a floured surface. Sprinkle additional flour on top of the dough & knead rolled oats, flax seeds & hemp seeds into your mixture. Continue to gently knead your dough until the oats are fully mixed in.
Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and let rest for another 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°. Once the oven is fully heated, place a metal pan with 1 1/2 cups of warm water on the lowest rack. Create three slits on the top of your dough using a knife. Place your lightly greased baking sheet with your whole wheat dough on a rack above the water. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let cool on a rack.