For reasons I am happy to leave unexplained, Corey has recently begun baking bread.
And in true Corey form, he didn't just throw some flour and yeast together, he decided to climb the steeper learning curve of baking sourdough bread with a starter, or chef.
Years ago I bought a book titled Bread Alone. I forget how it crossed my path, but I remember searching for it in a bookstore, cracking it open, and then sitting down with it for over an hour. I love cookbooks that read like novels, and this one does.
Author Dan Leader writes about ancient methods for baking bread, and basically, ancient = a really really long process. I think from beginning to end, it takes about 10 hours to bake two loaves of bread. But oh my. OH MY is it good.
It starts with the quality of the flour, of course, and Corey found Grist & Toll, located in Pasadena, and has been using their flour exclusively. And as someone who loves bread, I can vouch for the difference. There's a complexity, a nuttiness, and the proteins feel intact. He's made onion loaves, herb loaves, and for me, an herb and onion loaf. It's damn good.
So for Father's Day, it was easy to find something special to not only express my appreciation for Corey's skills as a dad, but also for his developing skills as a baker.
Breadtopia is a wonderful resource for home bakers looking to enhance their process. I found about five different things I thought Corey would enjoy, but ended up getting him this bread kneading board. He's been using the counter to push the dough around, and it's fine, but my goal here is to keep this bread baking thing going full tilt, so making that part of the process easier and more enjoyable was an easy choice. Choosing something special for Corey is always so much fun for me.
Because, as I hope is wildly obvious, Corey is a fantastic father.
I'm so lucky to have already known this about Corey – I've watched him be a dad to C jr since she was a baby. And after the emotional complexity of Mother's Day, Father's Day always feels like a welcome relief, an easy one.
Learning to bake bread has some definite parallels to parenthood: It requires patience. A lot of patience. Much of the time, the dough seems totally unmanageable – petulant, even. There are finely tuned temperatures and textures and ideal conditions for growth. Each step takes time. You have to handle it carefully and keep an eye on it. Each time you bake, you learn to leave it in for more or less time, to add more water, to decrease a rise. It's trial and error, constantly. And everything you do is in an effort to yield a lovely, nourishing form of sustenance.
It's very clear to me that all the qualities that make Corey a great dad also make him a great partner. I can be petulant, and often, I need more time.
As a parent, whatever you bring to the table affects every person who's pulled up a chair.
Lucky for all of us, Corey can now bring some seriously delicious bread.
Thank you, Corey, for loving all of us so well.