If you just want a recipe or some insight about how boiling your rolls before baking them, then adding an egg-wash glaze and a sprinkling of salt and caraway seeds will give you some of the best pretzel rolls you’ve had, you’re not going to find it today. But stick with me, you need to read this.
I’m incredibly lucky.
Jamey and I went to Gibson City this weekend to visit with my family. It had been a while since we traveled to my hometown and we needed to get over there, but more looming than a need to visit was an impending surgery. My dad is getting a small, very treatable cancer removed this week. It’s not a life and death type of surgery in that, if he doesn’t get it, he might die tomorrow. Still, it’s the C-word and he is getting put under, which makes me nervous. So I wanted to see him and be of any kind of help I could before he and my mom took off for the hospital.
Jamey and I rolled up to my parents painted white house against a palate of blue skies on a beautiful October afternoon. Dad was doing the preacher thing and joining a couple in holy matrimony and so he and mom weren’t home yet. We unpacked and a few minutes after we got our bags in, my dad and mom pulled up.
Dad had benevolent mischievousness pouring out of his face. He and mom said hi, hugged us, and proceeded to whisper back and forth in front of Jamey and me, the same way they did when right before giving us kids our big Christmas presents during my childhood.
Dad, still in suit and tie, told us to follow him to the garage. In the back of his 1960 stepside Chevy truck, there sat an apple press. If you’ve read this blog or talked to me in person you know that I’ve been talking about how great it would be to have an apple/wine/fruit press. Dad knew of someone in his church that shares my affinity for food. That person just so happened to have a few apple trees and an unused apple press.
He and the unnamed person had conspired to give me the thing. It’s a glorious contraption made of 4×4 beams of wood and wrought iron. It weights as much as an English bulldog and has as much slow but steady force behind it as the beast. You can assume that you’ll be reading all about Jamey and my adventures with it.
I was floored. Not just by the generosity of others willing to indulge my overzealous passion for all things DIY and food, but that just a few days before my dad has to be put under for the first time since his childhood to remove a cancer, he was thinking about me. It’s pretty humbling.
This isn’t the first time others have done stuff like this. My wife’s grandma has been a huge enabler when it comes to canning. She gave Jamey and I a pressure cooker, a large pot, and access to what seems like an unlimited supply of Mason jars. Then when my parents found out I was preserving, my mom got me another canning pot.
And let’s not forget my mother-in-law, who upon learning that I enjoyed her spinach salad quickly scribbled the recipe down for me. Or the time she bought me egg noodles and canned turkey (it’s a lot better than it sounds) from an Amish store after I told her how much I liked her noodles and turkey.
There’s also Pat, who is our incredibly awesome neighbor and friend, who’s mom gave us some delicious herbs from her garden.
Then there’s my wife, who has to deal with the lack of the word moderation in my vocabulary after everyone else has enabled it. But she doesn’t just deal with, she encourages it. In fact, she’s the biggest enabler of all, in the best sense possible. She supports all of my crazy ideas and experiments, except for the ones that have a high chance of blowing up or burning down the house, which is discouragement that is needed to keep me alive.
So I just want to take this Monday and say thank you to everyone, and to let you all know that I’m keenly aware of just how lucky I am. Thank you so much.
Also, know that I am more than willing to express my gratitude through cooking, canning, grilling, smoking, dehydrating, baking and a host of other food preparation methods. You’ve got my number, or email, or at least a comment section to make your requests.
Dictated but not read