by Chris Cowland –
I saw an ad for T-shirts the other day on Facebook. The logo read “Social distancing comes naturally to me. I’m an Accountant.”
Well, I hear that all the time from my family and friends, but it’s a little unfair. I went to Save-On-Foods last week, and thought I would wear my mask and be able to shop in total anonymity. It didn’t work. How could anyone recognize me, I thought? I had missed my six-month teeth cleaning and I haven’t had a haircut in ages, so I thought I would just fade in and look like all the rest of the random people. Then I got to the checkout, where a client I hadn’t seen in years was working. “Hi Chris, you’re looking good!” Three totally devastating words, probably meant in good faith, but I’m immediately thinking “I know I look like crap … so how bad did I look before?”
The previous week I had been shopping in Lake Cowichan, and thought it would be a good idea to try out my N95 mask for the first time. Somebody gave it to me, I think they cost 80 cents, but I had no idea that I was stealing it from the frontline care providers who really need them. Unlike shoppers in Sidney, NOBODY wears masks in Lake Cowichan. Maybe they think the hunting rifles they carry in the backs of their trucks will scare off the virus. This time, everyone was staring at me like I was an alien. I was even asked if this was a new regulation, but I just coughed politely and everyone backed off pretty quickly.
I was lighting the wood stove earlier today, and used for kindling a newspaper from early February that announced that the first Covid case had been detected in Canada, a traveller just back from China. Who could have envisioned where we are now, just a couple of months later? Not even the best science fiction writers.
So my friends at Seaside Magazine asked me to write something uplifting. Well, I found that a little difficult. I have always fancied myself as a pretty good cook, but when times get tough, there is nothing better to raise spirits than home baking. I bought the last remaining bag of bread flour from the grocery store, and attempted to set new standards in a previously unexplored area. After an hour of rummaging in the basement, I unearthed a Black and Decker breadmaking machine that had lain dormant for the last 30 years. Google supplied me with a number of never fail recipes. One thing I have always noticed in the feedback comments is that EVERYONE says “I love your recipe, but I substituted X for Y, baked it at 350° instead of 375°, and it was okay.”
These comments have always annoyed me in the past.
So I substituted half the white flour for whole wheat flour, and added two cups of organic stone milled oats that I really enjoy in my porridge. It wasn’t rising as well as in the recipe, so I baked it for an additional 30 minutes.
I will not be posting feedback to that lady’s recipe. If you know anyone in the construction business, tell them to contact me: I have the perfect recipe for house bricks.