When Englebert retired he was looking forward to doing what he’d always wanted to do, and that was to learn to make bread. For forty years he had slaved away as a proctologist, and a very good proctologist he was. Now it was time to put such things aside, don the baker’s hat, and learn to make bread.
His wife was a qualified gastroenterologist, and that was how they had met. Glennis had retired two years earlier than Englebert, and had taken up pastry making. She was very good at it. In fact, Englebert blamed her pastry success as being the cause of his growing rotundity.
Englebert’s first attempt at bread was disastrously inedible. Further attempts were described by wife Glennis as being the perfect vehicle for enjoying the taste of melted butter.
These days Englebert has become an expert at growing ranunculus in pots. Englebert is thinking of branching out and growing a greater variety. Already the number of pots on the patio has become a little disturbing. And on the porch. And in the living room. What he needs is a green house.
Quite frankly, Glennis wished he’d just stuck to bread making.
Anne had lost her wedding ring, but she knew exactly where it would be. Every day she made a loaf of bread. It had happened before. It would be in the baked loaf. It would have slipped off while she was doing the kneading. She was constantly telling herself to take the wedding ring off before make the bread. When would she ever learn?
She had just enough time to take the bread out of the oven before scurrying off in the family van to take her son and some of his friends to their hockey match. She would worry about the wedding ring later. And then on the way home she would pop into the supermarket to get a few things. Another parent was to drop the boys home.
Of course, when eventually she did get home the inevitable had happened: her son and his friends had scoffed down the entire loaf with heaps of butter.
“You make excellent bread, Mrs McElwey!” said Angelo Whatnotski.
“Did anyone find a wedding ring in the bread?” asked Anne.
No one had. Oh well, how stressful!
Later that day, just as she was peeling the potatoes for dinner, Anne spied her wedding ring on the bench next to the flour bin. She had taken it off after all! O happy day! O happy, happy day!
What a pleasure it is to behold a surprisingly happy conclusion to a stressful experience!
Leigh was into health food. She had an overabundance of tomatoes this year and decided to make and freeze some soup.
Of course, the thing she most disliked about making tomato soup was skinning the tomatoes, and removing the seeds. Seeds in tomato soup! Never! All the recipes said to take them out, and she did. What a task!
And so to make some healthy bread. Now where did she put that carton of seeds?
Rhoda was an enthusiast. Sometimes she was accused of not being able to stick to something, but it was nothing like that at all. She would do something for a year, and then move on to another interest. All her interests had something to do with food. Two years ago she was into making pickles and chutneys. She had cupboards full of every combination; fig and leek chutney for example, and apple, rosemary and mango. Last year she was into breads; she made every type of bread under the sun. And this year (she had been given a book for Christmas) she was into edible weeds.
Until her Christmas gift – Edible Weeds of the World – Rhoda had no idea that so many of the plants growing wild were able to be eaten. First she tried wild onion. It grew everywhere. It seemed to be a cross between onion and garlic, and the leaves, flowers and bulbs could all be devoured. Why anyone would ever need to buy onions and garlic and chives after this discovery was anyone’s guess. Wild onions were as common as anything.
And then there were gorse flowers, and wild nasturtiums, and the roots and uncurled fronds of specific ferns, and fennel, and mint, and thistle heads, and… Quickly, Rhoda’s edible weed menu grew and developed into a huge and burgeoning thing of wonder. She foraged and found and used all sorts of weeds she hadn’t even known existed.
It was such a shame when she poisoned her whole family.
Old Mr Jenkins from down the road was a sprightly ninety-four. He still lived alone. He still mowed his own lawn. His garden was a picture. He even made his own bread; in a bread-maker machine admittedly, but, still, it showed his independence.
The bread-maker could just about stand on its head and do a twirl. It was marvellous. Old Mr Jenkins delighted in experimenting with the variety of recipes that came in the instruction book. The trouble was he was the only one eating the bread so he had to wait a couple of days of bread-eating before he could try another recipe.
And then he cottoned on to the idea of giving some of the neighbours the bread. It wasn’t so much fun because he liked to try each loaf and he could hardly give the neighbours a loaf of half eaten bread.
His favourite recipe was a French Loaf. It took five hours of making time in the machine. He set it going and worked out that the machine would go beep-beep on completion around about three in the afternoon.
And so time passed. The neighbours were a little worried that they hadn’t seen old Mr Jenkins for a while, so they knocked on his door and there was no answer. They went inside and…
… let’s just say the bread was still in the bread-maker. Its little finish light was still going blink-blink-blink, but the bread was covered in mould.