I have a story for you today.
Late last week I announced my desire to bake some bread. It was, at the time, pertinent to the conversation. It is unusual during the summer to have that feeling. Why would I want to heat up the house when it's already plenty hot outside? And yet, there it was. I was in a bread making mood and there was nothing more to be done about it except decide what sort of bread to make.
Tim requested pepperoni bread. I was actually thinking Oat bread or wheat bread personally. Pepperoni bread wasn't even on my radar but once he suggested it, nothing else would do. My baby wants pepperoni bread, my baby gets pepperoni bread!
The recipe came to me long ago from my good friend Sandy who is one of the best bakers I know. It's a never fail and always enjoy recipe. I haven't made it in at least four years, i.e. not since we moved to Florida. So I suppose it was long past time to dig this recipe back out of the archives and get to work!
Friday morning off I went to the grocery store deli counter to buy the part of the recipe I did not have on hand: a lot of thinly sliced large pepperoni and thinly sliced provolone cheese. I was there early enough in the morning that it was not yet busy with customers but the staff were busy filling in the refrigerated display cabinet and setting up behind the counter. Still the lady behind the counter was very nice. Even when she had no idea what I was talking about when I said, "the large kind of pepperoni".
Between her mask, my mask and the noise around us, I believe that she thought she mis-heard me. So when she stared at me blankly, I repeated my request and then went on to gesture with my hands, "Not the little pepperoni that you put on pizza, the bigger pepperoni for making pepperoni bread". I showed her the relative circumference of each in turn.
She hmmmmed for a few moments and said, "I don't think we have that" but she did go to the case and poke around for a few seconds. She returned with the exact right product but asked hesitantly, "Is this it?'
"Yes! " I said happily! She proceeded to cut through the many layers of packaging before slicing a few small cuts and, as they do, held one up for me to see if the thinness of it was what I had in mind. It was perfect and I told her so. She continue slicing pepperoni and then provolone, then carefully packaged and labeled both and sent me on my way with a "Have a good day" wish for me. A Nice Lady.
I was in such a great mood making the bread. I do love baking and bread is right up there at the top of my list. It is time consuming but I had nothing else going on that day. So I went through all of the steps necessary in bread making.
I especially love kneading the dough. Not sure why, but I absolutely do. And my work was rewarded because it proofed up big and bubbly with that yeasty fragrance that is unmistakable. I cut the dough in half, one last brief knead for each half, then I rolled each out, brushed them with olive oil and carefully layered the pepperoni and the provolone. Then each was jelly rolled into a nice fat, long loaf and put into the oven.
Oh the fragrance in the house as it baked was delightful! I sang to myself as I cleaned up my mess (I am incapable of baking without making a mess) and eventually it was done. It was perfection! Golden brown on the outside with a nice hollow sound at my tap. I put them on racks to cool but I couldn't wait to try it.
So I cut two small test slices, one for Tim and one for myself. His eyes lit up as he munched it down and then returned for a second slice. Which sounded like a great idea so I followed him. Oh it tasted just as good as it smelled!
But as he bit in to the second slice, Tim stopped, took the bread back out of his mouth and then pulled out what seemed to be a sort of string of something? Is it the cheese?
No. It was definitely not the cheese. After a little investigation we realized that it was a piece of plastic! Although she cut what seemed to be a lot of layers of packaging off the pepperoni before slicing, it seems that she didn't cut off the final one. Damn. And on the tiny so very thin slices, I didn't see it either. So I literally baked plastic into my bread., Double damn. And. We. Ate. It. Triple Damn!
I pulled the small amount of leftover pepperoni back out of the fridge and starting picking at the edges. Sure enough. I was able to work off a small pile of thinly sliced plastic bits.
Gross! I was so annoyed. Mostly with myself for not noticing. But then, why would I have paid that close of attention? Who expects to have to pick at each slice of pepperoni and work off a plastic edge before using it? It never happened to me before so why would I have expected it to happen this time.
Initially I was really ticked. I had to throw it all away. Beautiful gorgeous pepperoni bread right in the garbage. Dang. To say nothing of the waste of product and time. And the disappointment!!
But then I remembered that the nice lady behind the counter didn't even know that there was such a thing as large pepperoni. She was only doing the best that she knew how. Anyone can make a mistake.
I can forgive and move on. We are fine.
So anyway, I'm over it now (even though I admit I was plenty steamed then!)
But that's my pepperoni bread story. At least that's the one for today.
Hope your day is a terrific one!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.