Sunday, April 16, 2006


Last night I attended the Easter Vigil service with Brent at Trinity Episcopal Church here in Princeton. This is one of the most powerful and transformative services I have ever attended, and anyone who has never been to one, go right now to your calendar for next year, find Easter, and write in red ink in all caps on Holy Saturday, "JEN SAYS GO TO EASTER VIGIL."

This morning Brent is acolyting at the Easter Sunday service but I am tired, didn't sleep well, have things to do, and am still feeling buoyed up by last night anyhow. So I have spent the morning baking varieties of breads.

I've blogged about baking before, but this morning, I find myself baking three different breads. One is my mom's awesome sourdough bread, the best batch yet since my resumption of making it a few weeks ago-- Marcus the Stoic Starter has come back strong despite 6 months of complete neglect. I'll be taking a couple of loaves with me to Brooklyn tonight--one for our Easter meal just in case the next baking project, an experimental one for me, doesn't quite work out. I'm making "hot cross buns" for the first time, especially for our celebration of Easter. Right now they're on their second rise, and pretty soon they should be all round and plump and X-ey and then I brush with egg wash, fill the crosses with white icing, and stick 'em in the oven. We'll just see if they turn out like the picture in the book...and if my forgetting that I doubled the recipe and put in one egg instead of two, and adding the second later when I remembered it, really screwed everything up...

Finally, I'll be making communion bread since I am the celebrant this week (it pays to be the one in charge of the sign up sheet, if one wants to be the one who celebrates Easter Eucharist!). I am toying with the idea of using a leavened bread this time instead. It seems appropriate on Easter: an emphasis on resurrection.

Regardless, baking remains a meditative thing. This has been a beautiful Easter morning, vibrant sunshine, clear blue sky, breezy windows, quiet clean house, and Baby _______ tapdancing her Morse code approval of my breakfast of Mom's sourdough fresh out of the oven. And best, I love it that something so basic can be such a service. Maybe it's the Martha in me (and y'all thought I was all Mary, sitting around daydreaming about systematic theology and the posthuman...) but I love it that I can create something that feeds a bunch of people, and is not only nourishing physically but communicates love. My love for them, and God's love for everyone.


pat said...

You need that Bake and Be Blessed book by Father Dominic. Look at my blog for a link.

What you've got in you, is a bit of your mom. Breadmaking affects me the same way. It is fulfilling to do something that nourishes others...something as basic as baking and breaking bread.

Brian said...

Good post.

Did you go with the leavened bread?

St. Michael's normally uses leavened, but we had unleavened during lent. Even little things like returning to leavened bread can help awaken the sense of joy at Easter.

Brian said...

Oh, and how did the hot cross buns turn out?

RM said...

I remembered my username and password! Jen, I loved your lesson on Sunday, and the bread was excellent (esp. the hot cross buns).

JTB said...

We did have leavened bread, in fact. I couldn't resist it, and besides, no matter how good my China communion bread recipe is, Mom's sourdough beats it hollow. The hot cross buns...well, they were a little less aesthetic than the pic in the magazine, but they seemed to work out okay--at least, RM liked them...:)