11.13.2010

Twins, cheese bread & the afterlife

Yesterday I had twins. I broke an egg, and there were two. DSC_0032I was making cheese bread. The twins made me really sad about eating animals. I eat meat or animal products every day. I try to do it responsibly, trying the best I can to make sure the animals I use for food were at least treated well and killed respectfully. But I also know that unless I’m doing it myself I don’t really know. Anyhow I started thinking again about being vegan. I think about it sometimes. I don’t think being vegetarian really does enough, if you’re still using animal products like eggs and milk. I don’t think I’m willing to be vegan though. And I firmly believe that in the evolution the brain of hominids, it was eating meat that allowed our brains to increase in functionality that made it possible for us to make the moral decision to not eat meat. Kind of chicken & egg. Oh, that egg.

Here’s the recipe for the cheese bread, modified from the American’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook:

Slightly Spicy Cheese Bread

  • 3 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 oz extra sharp cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 c whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (don’t even waste my time with low-fat)
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 with rack in middle. Generously coat a 9x5 loaf pan with vegetable oil spray, then sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan evenly on bottom.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne & black pepper together in large bowl. Stir in cheddar and remaining parmesan using a rubber spatula until cheese is coated. Whisk the milk, sour cream, melted butter & egg together in separate bowl, fold into dry ingredients until just combined, don’t over-mix.

Scrape batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake until deep golden brown & knife inserted into center has just a few crumbs, about 45-50 minutes.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then unmold & let loaf cool on wire rack for at least an hour.

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Then my mom called, and asked me to go to the funeral home with her to make arrangements for Grandma. I packed up the Pie and we went. While we were there, I saw the things that my grandmother had put aside to be buried with. Just before we left the funeral home, I asked my mom if I could take them home with me to photograph, because I’d never seen them before, and I wanted some record of them. So this morning I did.

DSC_0081 My grandmother’s engagement ring, which I don’t ever remember her wearing. I don’t know why she wouldn’t have worn it.

DSC_0074The rosary that her husband gave her on their wedding day.

DSC_0053Her Christian Mothers pin. It says “Most sorrowful heart of Mary have pity on us and our children” and on the reverse “St. Joseph powerful intercessor pray for us and our children”. My mom was reading this to me, and I said “Jeez, sounds like a lot of fun to be a Catholic”. She laughed, pretty hard.

DSC_0072This cross belonged to her sister, who was a Carmelite nun. 

DSC_0052 And this pin, which belonged to a relative who was a Monsignor.

DSC_0066On the back in inscribed “Kreigsweihnachten 1916 (War Christmas – during WWI) Msgr. Fr. Graf Spee, which I imagine must have been his name.

As I was photographing this stuff, Logan was cleaning up the kitchen for me. I’ve been fighting a cold the past few days, and the house gets pretty out of control within a day or two of not cleaning up as much as normal. I was talking to him about these things, and what my mom had told me about them, and saying that I think it’s kind of a shame to lose these pieces of family history, especially when I was just finding out about them.

“Well, that’s because you don’t believe in the afterlife.”

Bam.

I’m not religious, I believe we return to the earth and our bodies fuel new life. But I was a little bit stunned to hear Logan say it out loud. I think things should be passed on to family, because we don’t need them when we’re gone. You’re in the ground. Or scattered in the ocean, or whatever.

Hopefully if some archaeologist ever find them they’ll be really cool pieces of the historic record, showing religious beliefs, burial ritual, passage of items over continents, familial tradition…

Time to eat some of that cheese bread.

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