Fresh-baked bread and a pot of soup simmering on the stove are two of the better ways to hunker down during a storm.  We’ve used up just about every cliché we can think of, and I swear I really need to get that damned “The wind began to switch – the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch…” out of my head.  That, Lena Horne singing Stormy Weather, and Jim Morrison singing Riders on the Storm…. The iPod of my mind is going into overdrive…

But while all that is going through my head, bread and soup are being prepared.  We’re going to eat well, dammit!

It really is starting to get nasty outside.  It’s following the timeline Victor found this morning pretty closely.  I just keep hoping the power stays on.

But, if it doesn’t we shall survive.

The bread is James Beard’s French Bread.  It is one of the most easy breads to bake.  The soup is soup.  Stuff in a pot.

James Beard French-Style Bread


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°, approximately)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal


Combine the yeast with sugar and warm water in a large bowl and allow to proof. Mix the salt with the flour and add to the yeast mixture, a cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. Remove to a lightly floured board and knead until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Turn out on a floured board and shape into a long, French bread-style loaf. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal but not buttered. Slash the tops of the loaf diagonally in two or three places. Place in a cold oven, set the temperature at 400° and bake 35 minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when the top is rapped.

I’m making sauce next and we’ll have manicotti and sausages in a meat sauce for dinner.  Victor’s mom is staying with us so we need to have meals that are a bit more structured.

Mother Nature is having a ball.  We’re eating well.  Not bad.