Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Panera Poet

Okay, every now and then it's good to confess, right? As far as I know, only two people, besides me, know what I'm about to tell you: my wife (Joyce) and a former Western Reserve Academy colleague (and always friend) Walter Klyce, to whom I blurted out the truth one day a few years ago. (Good news: He's remained my friend.)

Here goes ... well ... a bit of background first. I've written here before about my obsessive habitual behavior: I basically do the same things on the same days at the same times. Pathetic, yes. But helpful for any hired assassin who's looking for me. (No need to shadow me: I'm easy to find, easy to predict.)

On Sunday mornings--this will be relevant in a moment--I get up between 7 and 7:15 and pad downstairs to do my rituals: (1) setting and winding the three antique clocks we have; (2) carrying out to the car the wastepaper and plastic that we will later drop at the recycle center in Hudson; (3) bringing in our four Sunday newspapers (Plain Dealer, Beacon-Journal, New York Times, Hudson Hub-Times); (4) starting to work on my sourdough bread ...

sourdough container
in our fridge
On Saturday night, before I go to bed, I feed the sourdough starter (now more than twenty-eight years old), adding three cups of flour and two cups of warm water to the starter that's been living in the fridge all those years. Stir, mix thoroughly, cover and set aside for 8-12 hours. On Sunday morning, I return two cups of the now-inflated and -active - and bubbly starter to its container, pop it back in the fridge, and then use the remains for bread baking. I get the dough mixed and prepared, then cover and set it aside in a non-drafty place, where it will take anywhere from 2-3 hours to double in size.

During which time I clean up and we head off on our "rounds"--Panera (for a little breakfast and New York Times, whose sections I always read in the same order: book review, week in review, arts, etc.), Acme (grocery stop 1), the recycle center, Heinen's (grocery stop 2). When we get home, I check the dough (usually about ready to use when we arrive). We put away our groceries, Joyce heads upstairs to write and edit, and I shape the dough into loaves and set them aside (and cover) once gain to rise and double before baking ...

Well, how do you like my evasiveness? Doing a pretty good job of not telling you what I said I was going to tell you, eh?

Well, it involves Panera. As we exit the restaurant/bakery after breakfast--every single Sunday--I recite for Joyce a quatrain that I've composed in my head that morning, a quatrain that involves two subjects: (1) something we've done/seen/read/experienced recently, and (2) Panera coffee.

I think I'll postpone the rest of this until next time! Shame is overwhelming me ...


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