Seasoning for Bread

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I love antique shops and rummage sales. I’ve always been one to collect relatively useless (but always meaningful!) nicknacks. One day I’ll commence Le Grande Purge, but for now, all doting admirers can send elephant figurines, finely etched crystal champagne goblets and vintage kitchenware my way – if you’re so inclined, of course.

In early autumn, Steve suggested we check out the biannual rummage sale in Far Hills, NJ. We had our separate wish lists, but the one thing we were both hoping to find was a cast iron pan. I’ve always read about how amazing they are to cook with and the character they develop. My culinary soul was aching for a cast iron. Steve warned me there would be a bit of digging involved, but I still wasn’t prepared – it was quite possibly the largest collection of stuff I had ever seen!

Some things, I’m not sure why anyone had in the first place.

Of course, one man’s trash became my treasure. This little guy came home with me and he’s living in my wallet until further notice.

In this immense, yet categorized mess, we were lucky enough to find not one, but two cast iron pans. For all my excitement over acquiring one, I had no idea how to season it. So, Steve and I did a trade.

In exchange for eight (give or take…) epi baguettes, Steve would season my cast iron and give me a jar each of his homemade apple butter and pears in simple syrup. As this was my very first official bread exchange, it demanded a celebration of wonderfully low key proportions.

Steve even brought the beer! He’s pretty awesome that way. Naturally, I provided some bread, which called for cheese, spices, olive oil and a peach jam we had made mid-summer (the first jam I ever made, actually). Of course, Steve left very happy with a bag full of bread.

I had been toying with the idea of bread exchanges ever since I read about Malin Emlid and I’m really happy my first was with a very good friend. Not long after this bread party, I exchanged some baguettes for an box of amazing chocolate truffles from my friend Sandy at Sweet Chocolate Sensations. I would love, love, love to do more exchanges. While I wouldn’t mind putting away money for my next vacation, there’s something to be said for the unpredictable and interesting nature of a non-monetary exchange.

Oh! If you’re wondering about the cast iron pan… well, it works like a dream.

Granted, it can only manage one pork chop at a time. But I love it just the same.

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