Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Let Your Soul Delight Itself in Fatness

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? ... hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
"Let your soul delight in fatness" is excellent advice which I have, knowingly or unknowingly, been following since early childhood. But of late I have rarely been spending money for that which is bread, because we discovered that baking bread at home is immensely rewarding, and the ingredients required ‒ flour, commercial yeast, salt and lukewarm water ‒ are virtually costless.

We've baked only twice so far, but I love the whole process ‒ the precise measurements, the kneading, gluten on my fingers, the yeast frenziedly feeding on sugar molecules, the physics, chemistry and biology, the miracle of the first rise, the punch down, the second rise, shaping the loaf, scoring the dough, oven spring, the hollow-sound doneness test, the smell of freshly-baked bread from the oven.

Here is a photo of a Sunday brunch with home-baked bread, but also some other things. For it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but also by cheese (preferably of more than one variety) and tomato soup.

The knife in the photo is the Serrated Knife ‒ one of two knives in our kitchen. The other knife is the smooth-edged Champion Knife, so called because it's sharper and therefore used a lot more. But it turns out that serrated knives ‒ even not-so-sharp ones ‒ work really well on bread. I was thrilled to discover that the Serrated Knife has its uses after all. "The best thing before sliced bread," Anasua called it.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Calcutta, 6:38 am

Our apartment building in Calcutta has a chilchhad, a word which for I don't think there is an English equivalent. It refers to a supra-roof – a raised section higher than the main roof, e.g. the top of a rooftop room.

There are no stairs to our chilchhad; it is accessible only by clambering up a wall. As far as I am aware, no one else goes up to the chilchhad, and once on it, you are higher than the neighbouring windows and rooftops. It has always been my favourite feature of the building.

Among other things, it is good for taking photos of the sunrise.

In a complete volte-face from my earlier stance, The World According to Sroyon will henceforth use straight quotes and not curly quotes (unusually keen-eyed readers may have remarked on the straight-quote don't in the first sentence). I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I have concluded that the curly quotes in Verdana, currently my default font, are just too unsightly. Curly-quote lovers who wish to complain to the management are kindly directed to the comments section.