Sunday, February 8, 2009

Where the Challah has all the time gone?

Once upon a time, Julie B. from Seattle met Julia B. from Portland. They were both navigating their freshman year of college in sunny California. Neither knew the other existed until the famed freshman art retreat. Julia B. was a bit quiet and their paths may not have collided had she not worn her very special Alice In Chains t-shirt that day.

From across the room Julie B. spotted the shirt and knew she was about to make a friend. Their bond ran deep, for they shared a name, initials, college majors, and a favorite grunge band. Soon they would also share a room in a crummy dorm, where they could watch hours and hours of TV shows recorded to VHS (courtesy of Julia B.).

Seemingly vast amounts of money were spent at the biggest dive of a thrift store (Action Thrift, oh yeah). Ear drums rang from the heavy metal tapes in Julia's sweet Volvo cassette player. Stomach's swelled after Saturday morning brunch at the "Caf".

And then Julie met the Yoko that would break up the dynamic duo of JBsquared. After graduation, Julie and her husband fled the country for the spicy countryside of Sichuan, China. Julia, however, moved back to her hometown where she began her multi-faceted career as an artist-entrepreneur-florist-fashion designer-dealer (antiques, that is). Their paths crossed occasionally, but they kept in touch as best they could.

They both spread wide their creative petals. One poured it into her young (and numerous!) family...the other into the greater art collective and her community. One made fur hats, the other made dinner. One changed watch faces to showcase tiny shells, the other changed diapers.

The contrast between artist-entrepreneur and that other awful hyphenated title (stay-at-home-mom) seems stark. Certainly the world of breast-feeding and naps has the potential to suck (pun not intended) the creative streak from even the most manic of artists. But Julie B. threw off this mounting despair (okay, so she has to throw it off quite regularly) and decided that her new canvas would be tonight's chicken with lemon-herb-butter for paint. Instead of sculpting clay, she'd sculpt some bread.

Cooking beautiful and nutritious meals was living art. Art that had the power to both bring a family together and nourish their bodies. (Well, yeah, that's a little cheesy and over the top, but remember that mounting despair for the tortured artist I could have been? I've got to tell myself something to get me through the day!)

But this weekend, the stars aligned. Julie and Julia were reunited and shared one common make some bread. Julie had been dabbling in bread-making for a while and was itching to try some other recipes in her new cookbook. Julia wanted to learn how to make bread to serve for communion.

Enter Challah recipe. Page 180 from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking The two friends rejoiced in their common purpose, mixing and braiding that dough into the familiar shape of Challah. The dough baked and then cooled, ready for its ultimate purpose the next morning...Challah French Toast. Mmmm...communion just got a lot tastier. And the friends of JBsquared enjoyed some long-delayed time together around the table.

Another relational success story brought to you by BYOB.


Gretchen said...

Oh julie, this story is so sweet! I'm glad you got to get together with Julia. I remember meeting her. And you KNOW I'm going to try this challah soon!

P.S.-I hear ya on the creative juices sucking. I really relate to this post, girl.

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

What a lovely story.

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