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It's not about the bread

I love bread.

I particularly love sourdough bread.

Once, in the mid 2000s, after a particularly good trade fair, Euan and I went to the London restaurant Moro to celebrate and I badgered the waiter to let me buy a loaf of bread to take home (£8 - 15 years ago! I must have been on a trade show exhaustion high)

Now, every week, pretty much without fail, I bake a loaf of sourdough. Sometimes I bake two.

But it's not about the bread.

If it was just about the bread then I would simply buy a loaf. Unlike 15 years ago, there are places locally where I can buy excellent sourdough for £3-50-£4 a loaf. (People go on about how sourdough is expensive and it truly isn't, it is just that we have been conditioned to think that bread should be cheap - a whole loaf, which will last a week, costs less than a small coffee and a donut ). It would be a straightforward commercial transaction and I would enjoy my morning toast.

But it isn't about the bread, it is about making the bread.

The pleasure is somehow about the routine and the connection and the sensory pleasure of making the bread. The simplicity of combining flour and water and salt and wild yeast. The kneading. The smell of fresh bread coming out of the oven, cutting the first slice, the feeling of plenty. Abundance.

I don't mean this in a 'domestic goddess' kind of way - my bread is made to a simple recipe with an even simpler technique. I have no call to improve or alter it, I do not want my bread making to become something I perfect, it isn't a competitive undertaking. If you take away the rising and the actual baking it is something I spend less than 10 minutes on each week.

The bread is something in my life that is removed from consumerism, away from competition - something that just is. A weekly magicking up of sustenance from simple ingredients.

It made me think about how many other things in my life, the best things in my life, have the same kind of feel - making soup, growing vegetables, arranging flowers, knitting blankets, mending - all done for the love of the doing, none sensible in a cost analysis way, the process more important than perfection.

It is something that I increasingly believe is a route to a more engaged life - a connection to a rhythm of the seasons, to materials, to making, to feeding people. It is something I am thinking about a great deal while I potter.

So what do you love doing that is as much about the doing as the result? That is away from consumerism and competition? Let me know in a comment.

I learned to bake sourdough with Kat Goldin at Gartur Stitch Farm - she runs workshops and also has a great online course for non locals!

Comments: 1 (Add)

Gill Harris on December 6 2019 at 12:21

I live to make our Saturday night Pizza & today because it’s to wet to garden I made roast vegetable soup & soda
Bread , living 3 miles from a shop makes you be inventive!

Snapdragon social

What do you do to break your routine? ⠀
Yesterday, instead of eating lunch at my desk, I packed up soup and some bread into a backpack and headed outside.⁠⠀
I'm sharing my favourite seasonal soup recipe in this week's newsletter - you can sign up via the link in bio or at www.snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
The bread is a @katgoldin recipe (she is having an instagram bake along this weekend if you fancy making your own) and the instructions for making the beeswax wrap are on my blog.
I grew up by this sea. Perfect for introspective teenage walks, head down into the wind. 
We went for our New Year stay with my parents this weekend - beach walks, lots of dogs and extended family time. No time for introspection.
I spent yesterday afternoon at the kitchen table sorting out my boxes of vegetable seeds.⁠⠀
Dividing them into types and sowing seasons, seeing what I have enough of (17 varieties of kale is probably enough) and what has run out. ⁠⠀
Then I spent some time browsing through catalogues to see what new (to me) things I can try - I'm keen to try growing celery this year as it is often difficult to find organic celery in the shops and the non organic has the highest chemical input of any vegetable.⁠⠀
Are you growing vegetables this year? Is there anything new on your list?
And suddenly it is time to get the house back to normal - I'm gradually putting obviously Christmassy things away, rearranging the bulbs, making the 'tidy spots' in the house look cared for.⁠⠀
It was so lovely to see people signing up as Studio Members yesterday and to welcome them into the Facebook Group where this month we are talking about Dream Planning (my anti-planning system) and the way the subconscious brain can help or hinder you.⁠⠀
This photo of Budgie, my psychopathic middle cat, was taken last January - just after she had knocked pots out of the way to clear some proper bird watching space.⁠⠀
Yesterday morning, while the cats slept on the bed, there were 18 birds in the hedge waiting their turn to feed from the window feeder.
Happy New Year.⁠⠀
What are you wanting to bring into your life this year? ⁠⠀
I'm actually very anti-resolutions, my character is not good with anything structured (off the scale rebel on @gretchenrubin’s test) I also want my life to be more than ticking things off a to-do list and as soon as one exists I rebel and procrastinate. ⁠⠀
If I write a formal plan you can be pretty sure that I will do nothing on it. If I make a resolution something drives me to go the opposite way.⁠⠀
That is why I do something much gentler - no workbooks, lists or plans -  but it is also something which I believe is much more powerful. I call it the Dream Life Planner and it is based on guiding the subconscious brain to support rather than sabotage you. It is a simple way to make big changes in the way you live. ⁠⠀
You can get the basic modules by signing up to my newsletter or - if you want something more guided and detailed, with more of the science behind it, sign up to Snapdragon Studio Membership and you will get weekly e-mails throughout January. The next 4 people to sign up to Membership get a hard copy monthly planner too. You can find out more by clicking through my bio or visiting www.snapdragonlife.com
Happy Hogmanay.⁠⠀
Christmas only officially became a holiday in Scotland in 1958. Before that, for 400 years, it had been a day like any other. ⁠⠀
Here it has always been more about the gathering with friends and neighbours to see the New Year in. ⁠⠀
Tonight we have Open House, everyone is welcome - just come on in if you are passing, there is plenty food and drink. (DM me for the address if you don't have it.)⁠⠀
I think that it may be because Hogmanay is the main thing for me that all my decorations are light and bright, pale metallics and sprouting bulbs. This is the window seat by the stove.
Yesterday we walked from Drymen over the Conic to have lunch at the Oak Tree Inn in Balmaha.⁠⠀
Katie took this as we headed over the brow of the hill and onto the downward part. I was looking out over Loch Lomond, with that magnificent winter sunshine on the water, congratulating myself that I was going to make it after all. (I am really not at all fit at the moment).⁠⠀
I mentioned a couple of posts back that I was thinking of going off line for a bit over the festive season - I have noticed that tugging panicked feeling when I haven't my phone in my hand increasing, and the way seeing someone on their phone drives me to pick up mine, and even worse the repetitive scrolling when I actually want to be reading a proper book. ⁠⠀
So I'm going to switch my phone off until 30th. ⁠⠀
I only say this because last year a friend - also a bit of a social media addict - did this unannounced and, after a week, I was so concerned that I was on the point of texting her husband to see if she was ill/imprisoned/dead.
Today I’m going to decorate the house - plant the amaryllis in glass vases, put up the fairy lights, hang the big mercury glass baubles in the window, get the paper white narcissi our from the cool of the guest room. 
For some reason it hasn’t felt right until today, but now it feels like a family Christmas can begin. 
I’m much more of a Hogmanay person so I suspect that I’m actually decorating for the new year. 
And then I’m going to close everything down, put on the auto responders, sit with a gin and crisps by the stove and celebrate the gradual returning of the light.

About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here