Friday, December 3, 2010
I ran into one of the drawbacks of country living yesterday when I wanted to do a little baking after returning from town. It takes forty-five minutes to get to the grocery store, and I had a number of errands to run as well, so this was a five-hour trip. It had rained all the way home, and I got back just in time to put the kids to bed and unload a two-week supply of groceries before dark. The wood stove does a good job of heating the living room, but it's a funny thing about heat...it can't turn corners. It never quite makes it down the hall to the bedrooms, and can't make that U-turn into the kitchen. At night, and when leaving the house for any length of time, the vents on the stove are closed and the fire banked, and the ambient temperature drops. The drawback was this: the house had cooled in my absence and I could not get the butter softened to cream in the sugar. I couldn't even get it soft enough to get the beater into the machine! "Room temperature" is such a relative term. In the summertime, when the kitchen (which faces west, getting the worst of the afternoon sun) is in the nineties, I could pour the butter into the bowl on any given day. In winter, there just isn't enough difference between the refrigerator and the room at large. Thawing anything from the freezer is a two- or three-day affair. Until I got the new ovens with the proofing cycle, making bread in the winter was almost impossible. Even putting the bread bowl in front of the wood stove wasn't enough to get the dough to rise. I baked a lot of door stops. I gave up the project last night and will give it another shot this morning before my friend arrives. I hope she brings warm clothes. Flatlanders have trouble with the room temperature up here.