Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.
Last week I spent more time indoors than the previous one. I think it’s partly because I’m starting to freak out about going outside, and partly because I was knee deep in a bunch of baking projects. I made baked doughnuts for the first time, and then Friday and Saturday, I took a big leap and made my first loaf of sourdough bread.
I’ve wanted to make sourdough for more than five years. It all started when I lived in DC and I read a book by a local author describing his process of making bread. I even reached out to him and asked for some of his sourdough starter. He agreed, but then I moved to St. Louis and I shelved the project for a while.
Then, when the pandemic started in March, I decided to revive it. It happened before the trend (I swear) when I saw that a local bakery, KNEAD, was selling some of its sourdough starter for curbside pickup. I picked up a little and started the project a couple weeks ago.
I’ll dedicate a whole post to sourdough bread baking later, but for the purposes of this post, let me just say that making sourdough bread is a process. If you’re not ready to devote some time, effort, and money for all the tools you’ll need, you’d better stick to cookies and brownies.
Overall, the process isn’t too bad, especially if you’ve worked with any kind of bread dough before. However, it does take a lot of time and attention. I’ve recommended a couple resources below that I used and I think are helpful. I was very nervous throughout it all, but in the end I made a pretty decent loaf that was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. In the end, that’s all I could ask for.
I hope this time spent indoors inspires you to start a project you’ve been putting off, whether it’s food-related or not.
Without further ado, here is Dimanche:
I wish we had New Zealand’s approach to the pandemic. I give a lot of credit to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her approach to flattening-nay, demolishing-the curve. I really think a similar strategy in the U.S. would help, but unfortunately, the CDC doesn’t listen to my opinion. Read more in this Forbes piece.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired at least one moment of grace in the dining world. Apparently Canlis, one of Seattle’s top fine dining restaurants, is offering delivery, and they sent an email to everyone who ordered a meal explaining that they needed to heat it up at home. The person who sent the email forgot to blind copy everyone, so responses went to everyone who ordered. One disgruntled and very entitled customer replied all complaining that he’d have to heat the meal up at home. In the end, other customers put him in his place and the group (including that guy) decided to donate to Feeding America. Read more about the happy ending in this Plate story.
I trust Samin on most things, but especially now when home cooking is vital. I will still hoard flour, contrary to her advice, but I liked what she had to say about how to stock your pantry and economize during the pandemic. Read more advice from Chef Samin Nosrat in this Vogue Q&A.
I think it’s important to keep dreaming during this time, especially about trips that we want to take when it’s all over. I love this AFAR piece about how to spend a day in Paris. It brings back a lot of memories and makes me think about what I want to do next time I visit. Check out the full story here.
An article about pasta shapes for our emotional state is something we all need right now. I feel like I’ve been orecchiette a lot lately, but generally I’m farfalle. Meet your match in this Bon Appétit piece.
Folk legend John Prine passed away this past week from complications related to coronavirus. I was very sad to hear it, as I’m a big fan of Prine’s music. Read more about his songs and his legacy in this NPR article.
Freezing food is a must right now, and this article offers some great tips. I’ve frozen a lot of soup, baked goods, and butter, but this story gives you tips on how to do it thoughtfully. I need to start making an inventory because the other night, I mistook one set of cookies for another. Get the tips in this 5280 Magazine story.
As I mentioned before, I made some sourdough bread and I’m on top of the world. If you want some tips, I’d highly recommend checking out The Perfect Loaf blog and this video on scoring bread. Both helped me feel more confident while I was baking.
Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.