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All posts for the month September, 2012

Not broken

Published September 28, 2012 by livinggraciously

I fell off my bike yesterday.

Actually, I sort of tipped over on my bike. Rather like Artie Johnson and his tricycle back in the Laugh-In days. I had to come to a stop when a car stopped in front of me, and I was trying to gear down with the last bit of speed I had available, and then my weight was on the wrong foot and I started tipping that way and there was no way for me to get my foot off the pedal to stop myself.

Ergo, plop.

I banged my elbow pretty hard, and as it was the thing hurting the most it wasn’t until later that I realized I’d also smacked my knee and scraped and bruised the inside of my thigh. I was mildly shaken up, but able to get back on my bike and have a good ride. Today I am a bit stiff and sore in my back and neck, in addition to being bruised and scraped, but it’s really not that bad.

And in a way, it was strangely liberating. No one likes to take a fall on a bike, but I have been experiencing a phobia of it that was out of proportion. I was absolutely certain that a fall on my bike would equate badly breaking myself in such a way that I would not recover quickly. I certainly am not looking forward to any kind of repeat performance, but I am gratified to learn that I’m at least a little sturdier than I feared.

Tonight is a 40+ mile ride. I am going to be a little creaky when I first get on that bike, but I am going to enjoy it.

Iron Maiden

Published September 15, 2012 by livinggraciously

It was inevitable, but today was the day: I realized that I need two cast iron dutch ovens. I have a pot roast simmering in my dutch oven, and I also want to bake a loaf of bread.

The thing is, I have large, heavy, stainless steel stock pots, but they simply don’t serve the same function as the cast iron. The heaviness of the stainless steel doesn’t come close to the slow, even heat that cast iron provides.

I grew up cooking in cast iron, until Mom got some no-stick pans. We used them for a little while, but quickly found ourselves back to using the good old cast iron pans. Food cooked more evenly, and just tasted better. When I got married, one of the first things I bought was a cast iron pan. I cooked in that pan, and the others I bought to go with it, for most of my first marriage.

When we left Alaska, I made a bad mistake. I traded the weight of my cast iron for the relatively light stainless. And for a long time I lived without cast iron. But I missed my cast iron. Then I read about the high quality bread that a dutch oven produces.

I’d say it was the thin edge of the wedge, but there’s nothing thin about that dutch oven. It weights 17 pounds. Still, I have added a 15″ skillet (a MONSTER – it’s fabulous!), a deep 10″ skillet (a lovely gift from dear friends) and a little 8-incher. I still want a 12″ skillet, and of course a second dutch oven.

At this point, my regular stainless steel sees very little use, except for my really nice All-Clad 12″ skillet, which I use when I’m cooking eggs. My storage for my cast iron is inconveniently placed and I have to heft it about quite a bit. For me, it’s worth it.

As for today, I switched bread plans to a flatter, ciabatta-style bread. And started daydreaming about more cast iron.

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