2. Wait one year.
3. When baby refuses the delicious, nutritious oatmeal you have lovingly prepared according to package instructions that he normally loves for, say, two days in a row, consider what else you might do with it.
4. Be too lazy to get out a recipe book, and say to yourself, I can whip this oatmeal into a delicious bread! Like the phoenix from the ashes, it will rise again! (Get it? Rise.)
5. Double check random recipe on back of yeast packet to get the hang of things, even though it doesn't call for oatmeal in the slightest. Figure you are all set.
6. Mix two packets of yeast with some warm water and dissolve yeast. Yeast packet says a half cup. Eyeball it.
7. Wonder if you should wait a few minutes for the yeast to "activate." Remember something about waiting for bubbles to appear on the top, check yeast packet recipe, it doesn't say anything about that. Move on.
8. Add leftover oatmeal. Mix.
9. Add some melted butter. And some salt. And throw in some milk, because your baby's been refusing that too, might as well use it. You know. Till it looks right. Mix.
10. Oh yes, forgot the honey. What's wheat bread without honey? Dump some in and mix.
11. Add wheat flour and white flour. About 5 cups total, 3 wheat and 2 white.
12. Mix together with your hands to form a soft dough. Dream about the day you will have one of these:
13. Let dough rise for 1.5 hours or so. Make cup of tea. Stare at sleeping baby. Check email. Dough will go from this:
14. Knead again, starting with a very satisfying punch.
Feel earthy and powerful and like you are on the verge of understanding life because you are hand-kneading bread dough.
Reflect that it is pretty good to be baking bread on a cold gray Northwest afternoon.
15. Wonder whether you have made enough for two loaves or one. Shrug. Decide to go with one big one. Shape dough and put in bread pan. Let rise again for another hour or so.
Let baby play with flour with his best friend the spoon:
16. Go on walk with baby. Forget about rising bread dough. Let bread rise for two hours instead of one. Check in turned off oven where it has been rising.
Fret that you have ruined it.
17. Bake it anyway. 400 degrees, 30 minutes. Smell the yum yum yum. Fantasize that Martha Stewart has just popped by unannounced and you say, oh hello, I'm just baking bread. Want some tea?
18. Let it cool for a few minutes. As few as you can stand. Cut. Realize it came out just fine.
19. Eat warm. Realize it totally came out just fine.
20. Share with baby. Rejoice that he does not refuse oatmeal or milk in this form.
"[Breadbaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells...there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread." M. F. K. Fisher, The Art of Eating