A perfectly unplanned Saturday

Cleaning out my pantry pumpkin bread.

I originally planned to write a blog post about how I overcame my irrational fear of using a candy thermometer. I was to begin my week boasting of my confectionary triumph. I saw the recipe for marshmallows in the April issue Martha Stewart Living and I was ready to bring it. I was even going to include a photo of my delectable marshmallows with my post, adding a modestly written caption. It didn’t happen. Oh, I purchased the thermometer and the ingredients needed. I did get that far. But something happened. Something that I had not planned on. What unexpectedly happened to me was a good book, an old can of pumpkin puree and a deliciously sleepy feeling of surrender.

So instead of a head start on my Easter sweets, I cleaned out my pantry and decided to bake whatever I could using groceries that I have been meaning to use for the last few months.  So I plugged pumpkin and white chocolate chips into a search engine and decided on spending the last day of winter wrapped in a blanket, sipping tea, reading The Stone Diaries and smelling the sweet smell of pumpkin bread. Who cares if it was 70 degrees out. Not me. Not on Saturday. I found the recipe on the blog My Baking Addiction. I substituted the chocolate chips with the white chocolate variety and ended up making two large and two miniature loaves of some of the best pumpkin bread I have ever baked.  In other words, a very simple recipe.

Why write a post about what I didn’t do? Why celebrate not crossing everything off my to-do list? Why celebrate not following through? Because it’s okay. It is okay to take a detour, to not always do everything as planned. Relish in an unexpected side trip and don’t force moments. There will be plenty of Saturdays for me to break in my candy thermometer. There aren’t many lazy Saturdays when the book you’re reading is wonderful, the quilt on the bed is just the right thickness and the smell of pumpkin bread hits the spot.

For more on The Stone Diaries keep reading…

I highly recommend The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields. The novel won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award. It is one of those books that I have come across a million times and for one reason or another I have never wanted to read. Some of the best books I have ever read have started out that way. I have included a few lines from the novel below. Lines that gave me pause, made me think and stirred feelings of jealousy because I had not written them.

  • When we think of the past we tend to assume that people were simpler in their functions, and shaped by forces that were primary and irreducible. We take for granted that our forebears were imbued with a deeper purity of purpose than we possess nowadays, and a more singular set of mind, believing, for example, that early scientist pursued their ends with unbroken “dedication” and that artists worked in the flame of some perpetual “inspiration.” But none of this is true. Those who went before us were every bit as wayward and unaccountable and unsteady in their longings as people are today.
    There are chapters in every life which are seldom read, and certainly no aloud.
  • The self is not a thing carved on entablature.
  • Women, I learned, needed to be bloody, but they didn’t need to be mean.
  • The larger loneliness of our lives evolves from our unwillingness to spend ourselves, stir ourselves. We are always damping down our inner weather, permitting ourselves the comforts of postponement, of rehearsals.

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