When I asked my husband for a Dutch oven for my birthday last summer, he thought he was heading into a trap in which whatever he did would make him a bad husband. If he didn't get what I requested, he wasn't listening to me. If he gave it to me, he was filling a sexist stereotype of buying a housekeeping product for his wife as a "gift." I'm not a trap-setting kind of person. I explained to him exactly why I wanted the kitchen tool. He wasn't supposed to buy the bread-making pan so that I could bake bread for him. I was asking for the device so that he could make bread for me.
He gave me the pan in August and has baked our family a loaf of bread every Sunday since. (Yes, I have a gem of a husband. And also, yes, we're gluttons for gluten.) After each week of classes, I eagerly anticipate our rest-day treat, with its crunchy crust and chewy dough I like to eat with caramel sauce or melted butter or, oh any which way.
He never complains about making the bread. In fact, if you ask him about it, he'll tell you that the recipe is ridiculously easy. Still, at some point this fall, I had him teach me the technique he's mastered. It's not that I don't love that he makes bread for us but that I know the importance of learning to do things for myself. I don't ever plan on living without him--we promised to outlive each other, so we've got that covered--but I see a lot of downsides to assuming he's always going to bake me bread.
- Being too dependent could leave me in a bad place.
- Future performance doesn't always align with past patterns.
- If I learn how to do something, I can give that gift to him and others.
- When we both have a skill, we can enjoy twice as much from our efforts.
Of course, all of these lessons apply to the bread and to so much more.
What metaphorical bread have you learned how to bake for yourself and others? Also, do you have a literal favorite Dutch oven recipe you want to share?
8 thoughts on “209. Why Learn to Bake”
Two things: 1) Can you please share this bread recipe? I recently received a dutch oven but do not know how to use it yet, and 2) My metaphorical “bread” I learned how to bake is the skillset of event planning. During the early stages of our wedding planning, my now wife took on what was in hindsight too much of the work, and I rationalized that it was because it’s a strength of hers. In reflecting on how we split responsibilities, I began to learn this skillset myself, taking responsibility for the day-of planning and coordinating with vendors. I learned a lot, and taking things off her plate helped us both enjoy the day even more!
Hi Andrew. We use this recipe. he measures the flour (all-purpose) by weight and uses one pound.
I love both that story and that skill. It’s definitely better for you and for you two as a couple to share any responsibilities that can zap a person’s time and energy. Yay, you, for learning that before the wedding!
Thank you for the recipe and for the kind words! I’m excited to learn to bake bread this week.
If it’s not delish, LMK. I can ask the expert in this house for advice.
CIO’s Sunday bread is so good!
I’m going to have to agree to agree with you on that declaration! Next time you’re here, maybe I’ll make a loaf, too!
So excited to make this when I get my dutch oven!
The other day, I made soup in ours (a Half-Baked Harvest recipe – we skipped the kale and sautéed onions in at the beginning) that was amazing.