Saturday Morning, 5:30 AM. 
    The rain was dripping off the eaves, and Certain
Man’s Wife, snuggled under the covers to catch a few extra winks of sleep. 
There would be no wood cutting for the few brave men of Laws Mennonite Church,
so Certain Man wouldn’t be down the road for most of the day, working himself
half to death.  In fact, this was the day that Certain Man and Certain Man’s
Wife were to go out hunting for the great Wedding Suit that would be suitable
for the “father of the groom” for not only one son’s wedding, but actually,
    “I refuse to buy separate suits for weddings that will be only eight weeks
apart!” he stated, rather emphatically.  And so, since Youngest Son and Girl With a Beautiful Heart suggested that he wear a black suit for their wedding, and the Eldest Son and His Ohio Heart Throb didn’t really care what he wore as long as he was dressed, the decision was made to go looking for a black suit that would serve a dual purpose.  (Now if only Certain Man’s Wife could do the same with “mother of the groom” dresses.  Ha, Ha!)
    Certain Man had proclaimed that he really didn’t have time to go shopping.  His chickens were going out early Monday morning, there were things to do in the chicken house, and there was a dinner and a play at Youngest Daughter’s school at 5:30 in the evening that Youngest Daughter was a part of.  It was imperative that they attend.      Certain Man decided that, if they got off early, they should be back early, and that would leave plenty of time to do everything at home that he wanted to do.  So the time was set to leave soon after nine o’clock Saturday morning.  CMW thought briefly that the Mall wouldn’t even open until ten, but reasoned that CM is quite often not ready when he thinks he will be, so thought that it would be fine.
    As she lay sleepily listening to the rain and thinking about the day ahead, it suddenly dawned on her fur brain that she was almost out of bread.  And tomorrow, the families of their small group were coming for lunch, as this particular small group are the designated hosts for the first Sunday of every month, and the food had been taken care of except the bread.  Usually there is plenty of bread at the house of Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife because CMW bakes ten loaves at a time whenever the supply gets low. 
    This actually is not the job that it might appear to be.  Certain Man put a second cookstove in a little alcove in CMW’s laundry room, and it is usual for her to be able to bake those ten loaves from the beginning mixing to finished baking in about three hours.
    Of course, CMW calculated the time between her head on the pillow and 9:00 AM (well, actually, 9:30 or 10:00) and realized that there was enough time to bake bread before she left for the shopping mall.  That way, she wouldn’t get into any complications after she got home, and there would be bread for lunch the next day.  So before she (or Certain Man) could change her mind, she leaped out of bed and started rummaging for day clothes.
    “Where are you going?” questioned Great Sleeping Bear.  I mean, Certain Man.
    “If I get busy right now, I can bake bread before we head out for Dover.  I think I will be glad later tonight that it is done.”  He made some mild objections, but didn’t actually tell her she couldn’t, so she descended down to the kitchen to commence to start.
    Three cups of dry milk powder went into her big Pyrex mixing bowl, then she filled it until it was ready to overflow with hot water.  Ten cups of reconstituted milk.  It went in to her gigantic metal bowl.  Three more cups of warm water went into the same Pyrex mixing bowl, and she added a half cup of active dry yeast.  She measured two cups of sugar, poured a small amount over the yeast and stirred that mixture, then added the rest of the sugar to the hot milk.  Then she added 1/3 cup of salt to the milk and sugar, and went to get 2 cups of Crisco to melt in the microwave.  After the yeast has risen, and she pours it into the milk, salt and sugar mixture, she adds a five pound bag of flour before adding any of the melted shortening.  (It has something to do with the yeast binding to the flour before the shortening is added that makes for a better consistency.)   
    This is where everything went wrong.  There was no plain white Crisco in the entire house.  CMW looked.  And looked.  And looked!  Here and there, up and down, under and over.  And then did it all again.  She was sure there was some white Crisco shortening somewhere in the house, but it was nowhere to be seen.  She finally found a can of Butter flavored Crisco that she looked at dubiously. She just didn’t think it would be okay, but after the third time through the kitchen, she talked herself into using that butter flavored Crisco, even though she was afraid that it wasn’t a good idea.
    Thus begins the saga of another, “I can’t believe I really did that!”  But it is in retrospect.  Nothing would have prepared CMW for the real problem.
    As most yeast bakers know, there is nothing like baking bread on a rainy day.  The atmospheric pressure does something special with the dough, and the bread is often much better than CMW really deserves.  And Saturday looked like it would be no exception.  The bread went together beautifully.  She added the melted yellow Crisco to the original mixture, and worked most of another 5 lb. bag of flower into it.  The dough whistled while CMW kneaded it, ( a sure sign of a good dough)  and it felt and looked like some of the better bread that CMW has made in her time.  It rose beautifully and was perfect in so many ways.  It was a little more yellow than usual, and CMW thought that there just might be a little different smell.  But it looked so nice, she brushed off her anxieties.  She’s been often told that she is like her Lauver ancestors when it comes to cooking.  Something is just never quite right, somehow..
    Certain Man’s wife set the ten beautiful loaves to cool and  got ready in plenty of time to go to Dover, and left everything in the care of others.  It was a perfect day for suit shopping, as JCPenney had 50% off their suits on a six hour sale and CM and CMW were there at the exact right time.  A nice suit was procured in anticipation of the upcoming weddings, and CMW came home early, and looked at her good bread.  It made her feel really good to think she had discovered that, in a pinch, bread made with butter flavored Crisco was just as good as bread made with regular flavored Crisco.
    Until CMW tasted it. Oh, no!  You could taste that butter flavored Crisco, and believe you me, it didn’t make the bread taste buttery.  It had a very strange taste to it.  CMW held her peace.  Maybe no one would notice it.
    The first loaf got sliced and half eaten before it was cool.  Certain Man, the official bread slicer, cut the rest, put eight in the freezer for later use, and left the loaf and a half out for Small Group lunch the next day. 
    The Small Group families came, and everyone that took bread ate it, and nary a complaint was made, but CMW just couldn’t quite put her finger on what there was about it that was just so wrong.  So she took a loaf to the gathering at her Sweet Mama’s house on Sunday night.  Again, though it was discussed at great length in company of all those good cooks, the smell and the flavor were something elusive.  Familiar, but elusive.
    “Hey, Mom,” said Youngest Daughter on Monday (having been absent from the other discussions), “this bread has a funny taste, somehow.  It actually smells like homemade doughnuts!”
    Maybe that was it.   CMW came over to take a sniff, and sure enough, it did smell like a homemade doughnut.  And it did not set right with her.  She still had seven loaves that she needed to get rid of somehow. 
    So she has faithfully packed Eldest Son’s lunch all week with it.  He doesn’t like it much, but since he is on a diet, he says that pretty much anything tastes good to him once he gets used to it.
     CMW cannot “get used to it.”  It actually turns her stomach when she smells it. 
    Middle Daughter optimistically says that it is okay as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 
    Certain Man says to just get rid of it. 
    Eldest Daughter says to take it in to a local “recovery house.”  “They won’t know the difference, ” she says cheerfully.  “And besides, it will be gone by the time they figure it out, so it won’t matter.”
    CMW thinks of those loaves of bread in her freezer and wishes they would disappear.  She doesn’t want to give them away because it might damage her reputation.  (!) Uh-huh.  She especially doesn’t want to give it away to people who “won’t know the difference.”  That is against the way she has been taught.  It seems a little like giving used tea bags to the missionaries.  But neither does she want to give it to someone who would know the difference.  They would probably wish they hadn’t received it.  And even though it is nice that she isn’t tempted to eat that bread, it doesn’t seem fair for it to expect her family to eat it. 
    So.  Is there any advice for this dilemma? 
    What would you do if you were Certain Man’s Wife?


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20 responses to “

  1. ok I commented and then your post disappeared!! and so did my comment!! 
    I am assuming from what you said that most of the tasters liked it?  So let daughter eat it with PB&J  !!  Ha ha by the end of 10 loaves she would not like it either.  My boys would most likely scarf it down!!!  I bought that “yellow stuff” once, I was not real impressed!!  Maybe the funnyness  of it is a figment of your imagination!!!

  2. Herb- flavored croutons? Dressing? Bread pudding? Bird feed? Toast slathered with homemade strawberry jam? French toast sprinkled with powdered sugar and soaked with syrup or blueberry sauce? Toasted cheese sandwiches? Ha – I must be hungry. Thanks for the congratulations! I can hardly wait now, for the time when YOU become a grandma!

  3. Ducks! Ducks like bread. And I doubt they’d complain or turn up their noses …errrr, ummmm, I mean beaks. And I doubt they’d tell anyone so your “wonderful breaking making reputation” would be saved! Well, except that you broadcast it on here.  Hmmmm. Oh well. You could always have my brother over. He’d eat it so fast he’d never detect a difference!  

  4. Oh, crud! Ducks have bills … not beaks, don’t they??  Embarrassing!!  It is definitely bedtime!!! 

  5. I was thinking that I’d try to make French Toast with it–especially the yummy recipes for Baked French Toast–can’t go wrong with that.  And I also thought about bread pudding.  If you really want to get rid of it, send a loaf along with Mark, Jr. when he comes down here Sunday! πŸ˜‰

  6. I knew there had to be a story coming when I began reading all those details about your bread-making:). Not all that long ago I accidentally grabbed the wrong olive oil bottle (with garlic in it) when I made granola. I managed to eat it but was I ever glad when it was all gone. No one else would touch it. So I vote ‘don’t throw it away.’  Some of the above ideas sound pretty good.

  7. I have found that often baked goods actually taste better after being frozen  and thawed so maybe you could try one that you’ve frozen, What an energetic Little CMW you are! Nicely told sweet story!
    Sounds like you timed the suit shopping very well and met with great success. Do either of the sweet little brides want the mother of the groom to wear a certain color? Many do anymore. ‘Tis a very exciting and memorable time for the Family of CM and his wife.

  8. If I lived next door, I would love to take them off of your hands. My children get homemade bread so seldom, I’m sure they would scarf it down, no problem! Enjoyed the post.

  9. oooopps. now that sounds like something I would do. 

  10. I agree with Marykay_girl, the ducks in Milford would probably enjoy it, and I know 2 little boys who would be willing to feed them.

  11. It seems a little like giving used tea bags to the missionaries. Yeah My parents iot those from well intended folks. Mama said it would have been cheaper to just send money.But no one likes to part with money even for missions.bread crumbs grind it up, bake them on low heat, and make bread crumbs. And cube them too and make bread cubes for stuffing and dry and freeze them. The added seasoning would make it easier to disguise the flavor. But Don’t throw it out.

  12. how about cinnamon/sugar toast?   and oooh, bread pudding would sound wonderful.  You could bring it to the next Bible study or to have after small group so that you’re not the one eating it…     I would be prone to give it away, or make use of it somehow instead of throwing it out.   

  13. What a dilema you have! I feel for you that your stomach turns when you even smell it! I liked all the ideas that MH79 gave, but I think that you (BEG) will still know that it is that bread, and you will never be able to really disguise it! Let us know what you decided to do!

  14. πŸ™‚ I too will be so curious to find out what you do with it. I am thinking it probably isn’t that bad, it’s that your familyis used to wonderful bread instead of just okay bread.  Some of the above ideas sound like a good choice, if you choose the bird feed, then you can enjoy the birds loving it.

  15. Give it to the birds!! Or take it to the pond and feed ducks with it!  They’ll appreciate it.
    BTW I LOVE your bread and know you have a good reputation for making bread if I remember it 15 years later.
    You know when we were living in Minnesota we used to received used tea bags in our missionary barrels.  Mom was insulted every time!  It was really, gross!

  16. If it tastes like a donut, put some molasses on it!  πŸ™‚
    I enjoyed reading your post while we are snowed-in near Mitchell, SD.

  17. I’m up here at the Houghten College library with Queena and Holly.  I had to laugh out loud and suddenly realized I’m in a very quiet library and am behaving very inappropritely.  Ooops. 
    I had a slice of that bread Sunday night at moms and it was DELICIOUS!!!!

  18. Have you got any pigs? They might snoot at it, but I bet they would eat it. I don’t think you will taste it in the ham. And it won’t be wasted, just recycled! Albert

  19. Funny story!  Croutons or dressing sound like a good idea.  Maybe you could hide it in one of the dishes at the junior-senior banquet, ha, ha!!

  20. I just can’t imagine something that smells like a homemade donut tasting that terrible. And Polly’s comment confirmed my suspicions. If you don’t like it, I’m sure there are others who would just love it. Glad you found a proper suit for Certain Man. Can we see a picture, or must we wait until the first wedding?

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