let's be confessional

Cultural snow of the day

When my grandmother taught me to make banana pancakes, which we did every Wednesday night through much of my childhood, she would counsel “Hold the bowl” as I stirred, which became, in our letters to each other, code for “I love you.”

At the beginning of Nigel Slater’s memoir “Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger,” the author puts it this way: “It is impossible not to love someone who makes toast for you.”

The language of cooking is very precise. “Slice three leeks lengthwise and then slice them in the other direction until you have a pile of half moons. Sauté them in a tablespoon of butter until they are translucent, but don’t let them brown.”

Baking is even more exacting: “Sift together 2 ¼ cups of whole wheat flour and 2 ¾ cups of white flour. Create two wells in the flour and into one deposit two teaspoons of salt; into the other, two teaspoons of yeast. Pour 1 ½ cups of water over everything and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough.” A wooden spoon.

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