Have you ever cut your finger on a piece of bread? I have. Here's how—
I have a friend who bakes bread, wonderful looking loaves of fresh, natural goodness. I won't mention her name because she pops in here now and then, and I'm a little ashamed of myself. As it is, she's bound to figure this out. Anyway, she has a recipe for bread that I have tried using several times, and each time the stuff comes out of the oven looking like crusty pancakes, so I gave up months ago. Well, she published this same recipe recently, and I decided to give it another shot.
I followed the recipe down to the letter, careful with the measurements and the rising and the timing and the storage just as she instructed. Yesterday, I put two hunks of dough on a baking sheet, let them rest, just as she said, and put the pan in the oven as directed. Then I got busy writing a newspaper article about this wonderful couple who is about to celebrate their 70th anniversary—really, they seem happy. During the whole interview, they sat cuddled next to each other on a couch in the nursing home and held hands. The man doesn't even need to live there, but he refused to move his wife in and have her live separate from him, so he moved in, too. Now, that's devotion.
Anyway, I was working away and forgot to check the loaves before the timer went off, and when I finally ran into the kitchen shouting, "Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap," and sliding across the tile in my cozy socks, I had baked a mess. This time, I didn't make crusty pancakes. I made chunks of cement, blocks of brick, shards of glass. I say shards of glass because as I was scraping the stuff into the sink, the very sharp edge of one flattened loaf sliced into my left index finger, leaving a gash at least half an inch long and jagged like the bread was ringed with broken bottles. In Brazil, people protect themselves by surrounding their yard with a high wall, and the top of the wall is spiked with pieces of broken glass stuck straight up for maximum damage should an intruder try to scale the wall. That was what this bread was like. Imagine eating it.
My poor throbbing finger bled and bled, and I had to wrap it in a tissue because all the band aids in the kitchen cabinet are huge, the kind you'd wrap a knee in.
So, two things: One, I give up on the bread baking, at least using this recipe that has yet to give me edible bread. Two, I can now say I have cut myself on a piece of bread. I'm guessing it's an elite group of people who can make that claim.