posted (privately) about using some of my organization techniques (which admittedly come from my mother, my lady , and others, but still it’s nice to help others realize the usefulness of organization), and I’m feeling pretty good about the notice.
My own house is in some disarray at the moment, because I’m busy with school, the library project has stalled, and I haven’t been able to do laundry at all. I was away with one group of kids this evening, I’m away with another group tomorrow, and I have business with the Commission on Thursday. Friday night I take the Jewish kids to temple (and I’m thinking of making a challah to take to the temple, but I’m not sure if it’s kosher [ahem] for me to do that).
However, my kitchen is in the best state that it’s been in years. I’ve been increasingly vegetarian, and limiting my 4-legged meat intake to one meal a day — if I have eggs at breakfast, it’s salad at lunch and dinner; I think I’ve had meat twice, maybe three times, since school got back in session. It feels good, and I may explore ways to make this permanent.
Bread-baking has been a critical part of this. The cookbook gave me at Yuletide (Jill Prescott’s Ecole de Cuisine) talks about mise en place. This means, “have things set ahead of time.” This means, have ingredients that you like to use on hand, have the equipment that you need, so that when the mood strikes you… you cook.
This is proving useful to me, because I now have the ingredients for bread in the house, arranged in the right places. If I bake bread for temple on Friday, I have to mix the ingredients early on Friday morning, so the bread rises while I’m at school. I have to set things up so I punch down at noonish, come back to braid before fencing practice, and bake at 5:00 so the bread comes out of the oven just before dinner, cools off while I’m AT dinner, and I can take it to Temple at 6:30. How’s that for planning?
I’m also finding that baking creates immanent moments. If I’m baking, the smell carries into the dormitory, and my students tend to filter in to find out what’s going on. The smell tends to make them hang out, and talk with one another, and play board games and word games with one another, rather than playing video games alone. So I think I have to make bread and cookie- baking part of my regular dormitory routine.