The Land Beyond the Forest
The cottage was painted a Mediterranean Blue with white accents. The roof was deep gray flat slate. Foundation was from local rocks cemented together. Four small windows on the side wall with only one window on the top floor set directly in the center. A well used wide brimmed old straw hat hung on the gate waiting for the owner to return.
Inside in one corner was a wall to floor well used fireplace. The outside covered in white with blue print ceramic tiles. It extended partly along the wall with a ledge where one could sit and warm themselves or set a bowl with rising bread. Pictures decorated the wall behind. From the wood ceiling beams hung herbs by strings drying for winter uses. Breads, pasties, soups and stews would be tasty with the addition of these pungent herbs.
Sue had a wonderful smelling Rosemary Bread in the oven. The aroma of fresh Rosemary was perfuming the air. I could have been from the vase of fresh Rosemary she had cut for the bread. Sue always cut too much Rosemary because she had plenty of the shrubs growing outside. Her Easy Rosemary Bread was given to her from her husband, Jim's mother on the day they were married. Her mother in law told Sue it was Jim's favorite.
The Ingredients were:
4 cups bread flour plus extra for shaping
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast traditional
1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped rosemary
2 cups room temperature tap water
1 tablespoon melted butter
Topping it before baking called for
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
She loved the recipe because it made two large loaves or three smaller ones.
Over the years she wrote a new recipe in her own hand and framed the original.
Sue then hung it on the wall along with a picture of Jim and his Mother when he was small.
Every time Sue baked this bread Jim would look at the framed photo and say:
” MaMa you did good to pass this recipe on to Sue. Her bread is as good as yours and sometimes better.”
Sue was pleased but hoped he never said that when his MaMa was around. She was getting up in years but she still had sharp hearing. Sue had always gotten along with Jim's MaMa over the years and did not want her feelings hurt. Márta now age ninty, still lived in Transylvania. Sue asked her to move in with them when József passed on at age one hundred and one but Márta chose to stay in her own home.
“When I am old and can not cook anymore I will come and live with you two. Right now I will stay wher I am.” laughed Márta. That is where she stayed but they saw her every week.
Jim walked into the mudroom off the kitchen. Sue heard him wiping his feet but did not go to look as she was taking the bread out of the oven. She knew someone was with him. Jim called out: “We have company Sue, put another bowl on the table.”
MaMa walked insde the kitchen, slippered feet and wrapped in a shawl.
“Oh. My it smells wonderful in your kitchen. Rosemary bread and pea soup. Two of my favorite foods.”
“What a pleasant surprise.” said Sue as she started to hug MaMa.
Jim said:”Don't hug MaMa too tightly around her arms. I received a call to pick her up at the Doctor's office from her neighbor Shelly.”
“MaMa are you feeling badly?” asked Sue.
“It's nothing. Just some scratches, I'll heal. I'm tough.” laughed MaMa.
“Hah MaMa we know you're tough but you do need some help out there ar the farm and you know it.”
Jim turned to Sue saying: Get me a soft rope so I can tie her down. She's staying here tonight.”
MaMa looked at Sue and Sue shook her head saying: “ He's the boss of the house, except for my kitchen, so we best do as he says.”
MaMa nodded her head then winked her bright blue eyes. Sue helped MaMa off with her shawl and noticed her arms were covered with light bandages. MaMa had been stacking wood when some of the lighter pieces fell onto her knocking her to the ground. Her neighbor saw the whole incident and drove her to the doctor.
MaMa would be staying with them a few days while Jim and friends worked on MaMa's wood pile making it smaller and more managable for a five foot woman. Sue and MaMa had a wonderful time together those three days.
You are special,
know how to give
a family to make
©Julia A Knaake