Category Archives: Les than 99 cents

Making Bread: Cheap Cheerful and Guilty

I might have posted on this subject before — forgive my failing memory — but I’m gonna do it again. The eternal question: why don’t we get our act together and make our own bread ? Every other day?

It’s not as if we live in Paris or Montreal or Saigon, where a bodacious baguette lolls around every corner. We live in the Land of Bad Bread, unless you’re willing to spring five bucks for a spurious loaf of La Brea.

In the last couple of weeks I made this loaf of white sandwich bread, straight off the back of the King Arthur Dried Baker’s Milk bag:

Tall, wide grained, and kneaded in the KitchenAid: approx five minutes hands on work. So why don’t I have a few loaves in the freezer? I guess I’m a lazy slut.

Glom your eyes at the rye loaf cooling on the countertop. Lou made it with zero drama — so why not twice a week? (In fact, half the dough’s resting in the fridge for rye rolls later in the week.)

I mean, before the Cuiz and the KitchenAid I was perfectly capable of kneading my own dough with my own two mitts, following the recipe from “Joy,” With my beloved machines, I should be able to crank out a loaf every other day, but I don’t.

Baking bread is the furthest thing from rocket science — peeps have been doing it for thousands of years, fomenting their own yeast from the air instead of ordering it for the King Arthur catalogue. (Fermipan!) I’m going to spend a few more minutes of rising time to flagellate myself for my laziness, then I’m going to build a big ham and swiss on Lou’s gorgeous rye



Filed under Food, Home, Les than 99 cents

Fifty Cent Fun

When we were in Marquette Michigan last spring there was a moment at the cashier’s stand at a diner that rocked my day. The bored chick behind the register handed me my change and I was overcome when I saw one of these babies:

They don’t even have the slot for this coin in cash drawers anymore. For real, tell me the last time you’ve been handed one as legal tender. I stood there  surprised and spluttering: “Oh my God, you’ve given me a fifty cent piece!” She snapped her gum under her pierced lip and said “Yeah.”

As you can see from the photo I took today, I’ve held on to that half dollar. (In Canada it was called a fifty cent piece. I’ve learned that Stateside it’s called a half dollar.) Great ballso, I hadn’t held one in my hand for, like, thirty years?

Deep in the dear dead days beyond recall,  a fifty cent piece, bestowed on you by a Granny at Christmas or an uncle on your birthday bought a paperback Rex Stout,  a new garter belt from Woolworth’s or enough candy from the corner store to bring on Type 1 diabetes . It was a studly, masterful coin that invited possibilities. Four bits aren’t a lot of jack anymore, but it’s practical — why have two quarters stuffing your pocket or change purse when you could have a fifty cent piece?

It wasn’t until our second trip to the UP that we figured out why I’d been handed a vintage coin with such nonchalance. First Nation casinos abound in the UP, and if you’re playing blackjack they have to pay 1 1/2 times your bet. With a three dollar minimum you’re paid four and a half dollars. The four dollars are in tokens, the fifty cents in a coin.

So in a few smoky crazy fun hours we now have a stack of fifty cent pieces. I know we’ll spend them sometime, but not soon. I mean, if we go to the grocery store there’s no slot in the drawer for the mighty half dollar.


Filed under Collections, History, How Cool is That?, Les than 99 cents, Less than 50 cents