Thursday, January 20, 2011

An Addition to the Family

PUP UPDATE: We learned last night that we soon will be the owners of a little black and white fur ball. While retaining the breed, we are embarking on a new name. So Sam II (who inspired Sam III and IV owned by a close friend) will be the last Sam in this family. Our new pup will be named Beckham, after White Sox player Gordon Beckham, also know as "The Bacon."

No, it’s not the little fur ball pictured above, though I will have more to say about him in a little while. And I am definitely not pregnant. Cut out your tongue. Mike and I decided a long time ago that we were “one and done.” Our new addition is instead a mechanical one.

December was a tough month. The death of our Springer Spaniel, Sam, was not the only loss that our family experienced during it. A far less beloved, yet equally important part of our house hold, also died a sputtering death. During a Sunday evening roast, my kitchen range began shutting itself off. Three days later, it wouldn’t even turn on. While only 9 years old (almost exactly a year older than Sam), this stove has experienced more than its fair share of casualties and it was time to say good bye.

In my last post, I mentioned an example of our home’s former owner’s, shall we say, questionable decisions. These were not limited to paint selections. I could go on and on (and on and on), but suffice to say, everything they seemed to touch, buy, or choose turned to mud, kitchen appliances were no exception. While the range was an expensive one made by a very respectable brand with many extraneous features, it was a hate-hate relationship from the very start.

Now, mind you, I had just left behind a beautiful 30-inch Viking range in my post pre-practice marriage condo (i.e. where I lived after my divorce). It was gorgeous. And man it could cook the shit out of anything. Nevertheless, I knew it wasn’t practical for an actively cooking family. Professional ranges, at least the ones in my price range, are not self cleaning. This wasn’t too much of a sacrifice for a hard working single gal, who cooked sporadically. A working mom doesn’t have the time to pull on the rubber gloves nor should she be exposing her family to the toxic fumes from commercial oven cleaners.

Instead, I bought the sensible shoes. A stainless steel GE Profile. And, you know what? I love it. It’s got 5 burners, an extra deep oven capacity, and a warming drawer that doubles as another baking element. Since it arrived shortly before Christmas, I’ve been thrilled with its performance. It has roasted pork, baked our essential Christmas recipe, Stollen, and broiled spiced chicken. This afternoon, however, I put it through its final test: baking bread.


I’ve been making bread from the same all-natural starter for 17 years now. This batch of goo has outlived friendships, marriages, and careers. The “baby yeasties,” as I like to call them, are my first child. While they withstand disregard and can be kept in deep chill for months at a time, once they come to room temperature, they are temperamental, requiring three squares and strict temperature controls.

Given that this was my first bake, I was exacting in developing and maintaining the dough. I held my breath from the moment I cut the loaves with their reverse c to release the gas to the time that I pulled them out of the oven. I set them on racks to cool, ravenously watching them until they were ready to cut. When the serrated knife cut the crust, I waited a second . . . expecting something that would no longer happen.

See, I’m not the only household member who loved bread. Until a little over a month ago, there was a black and white beast who adored it. So much, in fact, that he could be three rooms away, in a sound sleep, and still be awakened by the crackle of the crust when the knife cut into it.

Back to the little black and white puddle of fur at the top of the post. We’re a-hopin’ and a-prayin’ that he comes to our home soon. Through a circuitous set of circumstances, the dog pictured above with the little locavore is Sam’s great nephew. Sam’s sister, Darla, birthed Gidget. Gidget bred with Tommy and they had a litter of six male puppies, all of whom are liver and white, except one. We visited them in South Bend, Indiana, when they were six weeks. From what we understand, we are the first in the running for the black and white, named Reggie at the moment, the breeder, Greta Dalrymple, is deciding which of the batch she will keep. She wants to keep the most show-worthy of the batch. Let’s hope Reggie is cute, but not quite cute enough. And let’s hope that he too is a bread hound.


  1. The question is ... Are people "liking" this post for the writing, the "cute" puppy picture or the boule?

  2. Hi there! I've just discovered your blog and I had so much fun! I am commenting and liking your post for both the cute puppy pic and the boule writing!

  3. Nurse License Protection, Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you'll return again.

  4. Mrs. Q, and congrats to you for your very good news!

  5. It's hard to resist a puppy. Or a loaf of good bread...

  6. . . . or a puppy who likes good bread.

  7. Your writing is excellent, Melissa and while there can be no replacement for Sam, a fresh personality will brighten your home.


  8. Bravo! So glad to hear about the new little guy. Edgar, our new rescue dog, is my personal trainer and mindfulness coach. (Mindfulness is all about preventing pees and poos in the house) My 3 daughters are thrilled to be basking in canine affection again.
    Can't wait to see photos of your new doggie!

  9. Anthony, you're so right. And that was my hesitation on getting dog so quickly after he passed. The familial connection is what convinced me. We got to see Sam's sister, who was so close in temperament and it broke my last resistance.

  10. Susan, Thanks for posting that - I'll check it out. And good point about the mindfulness - pee, poop and chewing. I'm hoping this springer is like Sam 2 not my first springer who had a taste for belt loops. Seriously.


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