Crafting your Own Recipe of Family Culture part 1

Baking Day at my house

Apple spice bread, spinach quiches, Oatmeal Honey Wholewheat bread and Light as a Feather Dinner Rolls

Many years ago when Clay and I were first living in Vienna, I became interested in bread making. Though we loved the different choices of bread available in the local bakery, we really missed our American sandwich bread. The Europeon breads available for sandwiches, at the time, were either white-flour wonder type of bread, or very chewy rye or doughy whole grain bread. (I just returned from a trip to Vienna and found the variety to be much wider than when we first lived there many years ago!)We longed for a normal, soft wheat bread for our sandwiches.

The drive for familiar bread sent me to several cook books. I read many articles on bread, tried many recipes and started an adventure that turned me into a full-fledged baker. In our small neighborhood market, I could go and have my wheat ground fresh and then take my flour home to use for my bread. One of my fellow missionary friends had my favorite recipe, but I decided to start experimenting with it and added my own touches to our very own bread recipe. Oats, eggs and milk supposedly added to the bread’s lightness. I incorporated them. Honey was a preferred taste. Our children preferred the golden 86 wheat in recipes.

Over the years, I tried whole kernel breads, but found my family preferred not having seeds get stuck in their teeth! (Sarah and I love whole kernels all through our bread!) So I started another experiment—grinding millet, rye, brown rice, spelt and flax seed into fine powder and putting it into my bread, as well.

So making bread, whole grain rolls, pizza dough, herb-onion bread and dinner rolls and pancakes became our family favorites that evolved after years of experimenting, reading, and copying other good bakers. But in the end, my goal was to come up with what suited us. (Please don’t ask me if I give out my recipe—I get those requests all the time, but since I am an “add a little of this and a little of that” person, I don’t know how to come up with an exact recipe. I also use a Bosch, which not everyone has, so I have promised everyone that by the time my next book is finished (and will hopefully come out next spring,) I would perfect my recipe in such a way that others can try it. Promise!)

However, I have noticed that I have never seen anything like my recipe in the books I have searched. It is uniquely mine! As I was thinking about this, I was also thinking of how much scope there is for all sorts of recipes---spaghetti sauce, chocolate cakes, chile, etc., for a great variety of different things combined together, but still taste good! No one recipe is right----they are all different, and yet good to the taste to those who prefer them.

Similarly, every family will have a different flavor--a different recipe that, when cultivated and fine-tuned will be their own unique blend of a Family Culture. I fear that many women, in attempts to find the perfect formula or right rules of what is takes to make a great family, are subject to destroying the unique aroma and flavor their family was designed to enjoy. Trying to copy someone else's ways or preferences or exact practices just thwarts and denies the unique design, flavor, essence that will make your own family happy, robust and productive and can produce a tasteless mess.

More tomorrow!