17 April 2008

baking and being

In his amusing yet highly-evolved ‘How to be Free’, Tom Hodgkinson suggests 'just being' is a good way to discover one’s true vocation – that which one is passionate about and can earn money from, outside the manacles of 'career'. A stint with no distractions, just free-flowing life.

As self-indulgent as this sounds, this is where I find myself now. Just being. For the first time since Life After Desk began roughly eight months ago.

And as conscientiously as I squirreled in preparation for this time to ‘be’, actually doing the ‘being’ is fraught with anxiety. For while I’m studiously ‘being’ I’ve got one eye on all that hard-earned, which is rapidly ‘going’. Which does not help me figure out how the hell I can 'be' in a way that is fulfilling, ongoing, self-supporting and contributes something remotely worthwhile to someone/something somewhere.

So here I am, trying to ‘be’ without money angst, when along comes an opportunity to boat-sit. For the next week I’m in a waterfront house on two hulls. In the centre of Melbourne. With the tram at my door. And the Vic Market a short walk away.


Delaying the invincible lure of bookshops and 'discovery wandering', I spend a morning trawling the market. Back on the boat, I unload my spoils. These include a small slab of salted Warrnambool butter to accompany my first ever batch of home-made sourdough – a rye. After five days of compliant stirring and waiting (in Gippsland) for my sourdough starter to ‘be’, I realise I have a showdown on my hands. The boat’s oven is notorious: it knows only one temperature – hell.

Despite my constant coddling, the loaf burns on one side. Given the oven situation and my cookbook’s caveats about expectations and learning curves, it’s a passable first try. Respectable crust, cakey texture and a proper sourdough taste with a definite rye-ness about it. Served warm and buttery with swiss browns and organic wilted baby spinach. Mmm! And I didn't spend anywhere near six bucks - the going price for a decent loaf - on it.

[Am also looking forward to dipping the bread into a bowl of soup nirvana - cauliflower, cayenne and coconut milk. Made this last week with an 80 cent cauli on the Yarram IGA throw-out table. It ranks as one of the year's meal highlights.]

Thus I will continue baking and being... and dreaming about the next meal… and trying not to worry where it’s coming from!

“Career is just posh slavery.” – Tom Hodgkinson


austin said...

well you can always have a meal with me, solve one night's problem. And I want to come to the boat at some stage.
Speak soon, Natx

austin said...

In fact I insist, and after reading about your cooking how about I supply ingredients and you COOK!