The cookbook itself is has lots of pretty pictures of rustic wooden slats with perfectly ripe, dewy, produce grouped aloofly as if just placed there by the farmer. And, of course, it includes lots of recipes. The first thing I do with a new cookbook is skim through and mark all the recipes I might want to try with a slip of paper. This cookbook is bristling with little pieces of paper. The cookbook is arranged by seasons. Oddly the things I have marked are mostly breads and a couple pastas. A lot of the recipes call for meat or seafood. And as I have chosen to avoid ocean fish particularly tuna and salmon as well as meat that isn't locally produced, well, I have limited options. This is not a cookbook for vegetarians.
The book's premise is made from scratch food that is good for people and not necessarily good for sustaining the earth. I run into this a lot actually. I choose to eat food that is produced in a responsible way that has less stress on our environment. This choice often aligns me with people who are eating pure food that is the healthiest option for their bodies. Both views fall under the Slow Food Movement. However, shrimp, scallops and meat heavy dishes are one of the things that we don't agree on. But, back to the making of the bread.
The oatmeal molasses bread caught my attention with a beautiful photo of three lovely but imperfectly shaped loaves on a rustic baking sheet on a wooden countertop with oats sprinkled around them. This recipe is a new approach to oatmeal bread for me. The opening step is to cook a cup of oatmeal in two cups of water with butter and molasses. When I've made oatmeal breads in the past I usually added dry oats. This method makes for a moister bread.
I have to say the texture of this bread is perfect, a tender small crumb. The recipe calls for light molasses, but I used the original dark stuff. Overall the bread might be too sweet. I think next time I make it I'll cut the brown sugar in half. I'm not sure why it calls for both brown sugar and molasses. I also didn't use all six cups of flour. I kneaded in 4 1/2 and the dough looked good so I didn't add more. Perhaps it tastes too sweet because there isn't enough flour? Jeff really likes how soft this bread is. We managed to eat one loaf between the two of us with some soup for dinner.