Making bread is what those annoyingly virtuous people do. They waddle about in their free-range sandals; do yoga, Pilates and tai chi; poo in composting toilets; eat muesli with organic free-range skimmed oat milk for breakfast; and they make bread in their sleep whilst running a few marathons at the same time. And they always recycle.
For a while we were not among this smug crowd, with that cloud of smugness floating above it so. We bought our bread like normal people – albeit directly from the bakery, not like normal people, but that’s most probably not a detail which you care about. The bread was tasty and good value – what more could a bread-eater want?
Then the bakery melted into a puddle of liquidised carrots. Something like that, anyway. I harbour the sneakiest of suspicions that the building was taken over by a company in some way prawn-related, but I can’t be sure. What I am sure of is that I very much enjoy eating shellfish, and mentioning The Big Prawn Company has kicked off a most infuriating burst of craving. (I would do a pun about craving and crayfish, but I’m too tired. Maybe you can do it instead. Leave a comment.)
With the bakery gone, we did not opt to replace bread with prawns – a shame, although other members of my family do not share my love of shrimps, and I suppose it wouldn’t have been very practical. We just got our bread from other places, and when sufficiently sizeable chunks of spare time presented themselves, we had a go at imitating the smug masses.
The results of this were not brilliant. A series of inconsistent lunches, loaves of varying degrees of crumbliness. There were moments when I thought: “this sandwich would be easier to eat if it were a mango.” That’s how crumbly it is – very crumbly indeed. Crumbly enough to be even more of a challenge to eat than that ludicrously juicy and notoriously awkward-to-eat fruit which grows on trees indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent, and makes rather delicious chutney.
Our attempts at making bread with our bare hands were far from successful (and not just because of the fingers in them, which were quite chewy). Percival, my butler, crowed endlessly about how wonderful he thought his creations were, but in my eyes even the chef-d’oeuvre of the litter was not dissimilar to a poorly–turned-out sponge. (For cleaning things, that is – I quite like cake, and wish Maire Antoinette [well, Marie-Therese] had had her orders carried out, and that we [they] had been allowed to eat cake [well, a type of egg bread enriched with a large proportion of butter].)
And I get the impression that the butler knew, deep down, just how pathetic his home-made “bread” was. Extremely. A bit like The Emperor’s New Clothes, really. For it was he who suggested that we purchase a bread machine.
There it sat a few weeks ago, a magical contraption of such unbelievable magic that even the likes of Messrs Trevor and Potter and Bongo would swoon.
Even the first few loaves, which had all the signs of having been made by a stranger to this brave new world, were marvellous.
It’s a bit of a problem that the machine makes a noise as it is mixing together things. Upon hearing a commotion it is still my initial assumtion that there’s a burglar about – perhaps Michael Arrington, nicking blog post ideas from my special notebook, because he’s jealous of my exclusive picture of Antony Worrall Thompson. Of course, it is the little men – perhaps less successful bloggers than me, who have been forced to earn a few pennies by making bread for we emperors of the internet; or maybe so that’s what happened to Iain Duncan Smith – whose job is to mix the yeast, flour, sugar, water, and so on.
These little men (and women) are incredible, I have to say. When they’re not doing that they’re inside the radio producing Money Box Live (or is it Moneybox?) – how do they manage to stay awake? Diminutive slaves who inhabit “electrical” devices, I salute you all. Hopefully not in the Primark changing room, or the woman might notice my reflection in the mirror and incorrectly assume I come from a military background or something.
When there’s a power cut, I will be forced to force my butler to get his 11 hungry children – “salad” potatoes, rather than big red ones like the Percy – to climb in and do the mixing. Then I suppose I will rub my hands together to bake the bread – or perhaps something involving a crotch.
So, yeah, the bread machine. I would share with you some boring remarks about the technical ins and outs of making bread, but fortunately I don’t know anything about it. That’s why I have a butler, for Pete’s sake. I am a busy man, with business to do – eating chocolate chips out of hollowed-out boobies, and reclining on my special deckchair made from truffles stuck together with bull sperm, for example. I have no time for making bread. Bread-making, schmead-schmaking.
By the way, a debt of gratitude is owed to diskgrinder, who did something which may have slightly influenced the title of this post. So, thanks, diskgrinder. Keep grinding those disks. It would be lovely if you ground them into flour, or something, as I’m sure that particular type of the white powder would give a distinctive crunch. Whatevs.