Excerpt from A Day of Pleasant Bread, written by David Grayson in 1942:
They have all gone now, and the house is very still. For the first time this evening I can hear the familiar sound of the December wind blustering about the house, complaining at closed doorways, asking questions at the shutters; but here in my room, under the green reading lamp, it is warm and still. Although Harriet has closed the doors, covered the coals in the fireplace, and said goodnight, the atmosphere still seems to tingle with the electricity of genial humanity.
The parting voice of the Scotch preacher still booms in my ears:
“This,” said he, as he was going out of our door, wrapped like an Arctic highlander in cloaks and tippets, “has been a day of pleasant bread.”
Meanwhile, here in Kansas, it is a frigid January day, and a treacherously icy one at that. Schools closed, roads glazed, a good day to be at home. We stayed close to the fire, my husband and I, with our two collies and yellow cat. Outside, even the stalwart ducks, like their more delicate neighbors, the hens, roosters and guineas, sheltered in their little houses. Hungry cardinals, sparrows, flickers and finches flocked to the nearby bird feeder all day.
A day like this always makes me want to cook. From the freezer, I retrieved a sack of tart cherries that carried lovely memory of a June evening with my friend, Donna, when we reached high and low, picking cherries from her generous tree, and sharing stories of our lives. Today, those lovely cherries became jam that will be served with biscuits when Donna brings her famous red beans and rice to our house for dinner on Saturday night.
From the freezer, too, beef soup bones kept for a day such as this. This evening, as I write, the soup, lean on meat but rich with vegetables, simmers on the stove, ready for dinner.
Also warm on the stove: beets. The ruby red slices boiled and soaking in a delicate mixture of vinegar, sugar and cinnamon.
From his recliner near the warmth of the woodstove, my husband’s gentle snoring speaks volumes. We’ve enjoyed a cozy day, sheltering from the storm.
It’s the kind of day where, at least for me, David Grayson’s story of being snowbound comes to mind, and I realize that this indeed has been “a day of pleasant bread.”