WORDS to EAT by: Rising
‘Good morning C’s mummy’
I force a smile on my face. It is too early for this s**t.
‘Hi there’, I respond.
The morning school run. 7am. I just dropped my little munchkin off at school.
I am not a morning person. This morning school run is an exercise in inner strength every day. I wake up at 5.30a.m to get the school lunch bag packed. Wake C up which is a battle with the blanket, the shower and a very cranky little human. Getting dressed is the last thing on my mind and a typical morning outfit for me consists of joggers and a raggedy top or a loose kaftan, head scarf (not the fancy designer kind) and flip flops. I would go without a bra but you know…
Every morning, I look at this gaggle of giggling mummies – dressed in cute outfits complete with wigs and lip gloss and think to myself- these women are not real.
I know these mommies think I am – let me think of the words to use. Difficult. Anti-social. Unfriendly. Snobbish. A real b***h. Conclusions reached because I refuse invitations to morning coffee, mommies that walk, playdates, PTA elections and things of that nature. The truth is- I am cranky in the mornings, I do not know these women from Adam and I simply do not want to be drawn into a club of women bound together by the fact that their kids go to the same school.
‘How are you?
I recognise this mummy. She belongs to P who is my little one’s friend.
She has me cornered. Pressing the button to raise the window will trap her face so I have no option than to continue this conversation.
‘I am very well thank you’
‘Good. I am glad to hear that. So seeing as you are on my team for the baking competition…’
‘Wait a minute. Baking what now?’ I am confused
‘You know..the baking competition that was agreed on during the last PTA meeting. To raise money for the orphanage down the street. We are on teams and we have to make spectacular desserts. There will be judges and everything. Friendly competition. The winning team gets an additional N1million from the school to donate to the orphanage. Separate from what we donate individually’
‘Oh’ well isn’t this a thing. This is news to me. I assume this was in an email or a letter or something that I missed.
‘Never mind. We have decided to make bread. Different kinds of bread. You cannot go wrong with fresh from the oven bread right? We only have tomorrow to get ready and since you have not attended any planning meetings, it is only fair that you buy the ingredients we need. The other ladies are taking care of the baking pans, packaging, kitchen space to use. All of it’
‘Oh’ Again, it is too early for this. I think to myself – charity, only buying ingredients and showing up. I can do that. Think of the children in the orphanage.
‘Okay. You can send me an email with the list of ingredients’
‘Oh I have the list right here. Written on paper. We know how things can get lost in email inboxes’
I take the piece of paper from her.
‘You need to meet us at this address at noon tomorrow so we can get baking and be done by 7p.m. I have included the quantities as well so no guesswork for you’.
She waves at me and saunters off to join the other ladies. As I start my car and pull away from the school gate, I notice the mummies looking in my direction.
I am at the grocery store. Putting things in my basket. Flour. Butter. Sugar. Dried fruit. Cinnamon. Cloves. Yeast. Wait. So many types of yeast. I do not have the time to ask any of the store attendants what type to get. The objective is to make big loaves of bread. So, I choose the big block of yeast. It is called super yeast so that should do it.
Baking day. The team of mummies are in aprons and have been assigned tasks by P’s mummy. I am part of the knead the dough mini team (apparently I look like I have a lot of pent up energy to exert). Batches of dough are rising in every dark cool place we can find. Inside the microwave. Inside the oven. In cupboards. There was a question about the yeast. Apparently, I was supposed to get yeast in sachets. I got a big block and we had to cut pieces off the block and blitz. All sorted.
I hear something. Like a creaking sound. I ask if anyone can hear it too. No one else can hear it.
I join the washing up efforts. Listening to the ladies talk about fashion, the Kardashians and other topics that make me roll my eyes. I hear the creaking again. This time, a few ladies say they hear the sound too. We set out in different directions to find the source of the sound. This is a pretty nice kitchen and I know I do not want to pay for damage to anything here.
P’s mummy says ‘It is coming from the oven’. I spin around and watch her approach the oven. Is it my imagination or is the oven door moving? I have not had any alcohol today so….I stare harder. The oven door opening slowly. I see P’s mummy get closer, I see the oven door. My mind puts it all together and I scream ‘Nooooooooooooooooooo’. I am too late. P’s mummy gets to the oven at the same time that the door flings open and there is an explosion of white sticky dough.
Crusty Dinner Rolls
• 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon dried yeast
• 1 tablespoon caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Extra flour for dusting
• Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl
• Add the oil into 280ml of warm water and add to the dry ingredients
• Mix until the ingredients come together
• On a clean surface, sprinkle a little flour and turn the dough onto the surface
• Knead the dough gently for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic
• Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with cling film and keep in a cool dark place to rise for 2 hours (Inside the cold oven or microwave is perfect)
• Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
• Divide the dough into 12 pieces
• Shape the pieces into bun shapes
• Lightly oil a baking sheet and arrange the dough pieces on the sheet
• Cover with cling film and leave for 1 hour
• Remove cling film, slash the rolls with a sharp knife and dust lightly with flour
• Preheat oven to gas mark 6- or 400-degrees F
• Bake the rolls for 15 minutes or until the rolls sound hollow when the bottoms are tapped
• Cool on a baking rack