We don’t see seasonal transitions here in Florida. Leaves don’t really change and trees mostly don’t lose their leaves in the winter like you might see elsewhere, such as the Midwest. The seasons here in Florida all sort of blend together. One day it is 99F and the next day it is 50F, signalling the transition from summer to winter. We wear shorts at Christmas and wash the car in January. And I love to hear the Northerners complain about the lack of seasons, pointing out that they decided to move to Florida on their own accord; also, they complain about the bitter cold in the North but have issues with trees not turning orange in a subtropical clime..go figure (or go back).
Anyway, my first taste of what I will call Autumn was a loaf of bread. Yes, a loaf of bread. I got a call early Tuesday morning and it was Rick, asking if he could drop off a loaf of Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. And of course I jumped at the opportunity to get some pumpkin bread. Being the only person in my immediate and greater family that enjoys pumpkin, I have to take those opportunities and cherish them.
I did not touch the bread until I got home. Not because I was worried about coworkers harassing me or anything…just because it would be better to slice and toast bread at home, where I have a sharp serrated bread knife, a toaster, and some Delitia Parmigiano Reggiano butter, which is made from the cream left over from Parmigiano Reggiano (the King of Cheeses) production.
So, with the Food Nazi’s bread in hand, I made it home, took L to church class, made it home again and was finally ready to slice into the bread. I cut the first slice, displacing the more dry crustal portion. (Who likes the end piece?) I then got a good “inside” cut of the bread, sliced to fit my toaster, and toasted away. I put an ever so small smear of the Delitia butter on the slightly caramelized surface area of the bread slice.
The bread was tasty. It had a very subtle kiss of Autumn spice in it, and a similarly subtle pumpkin hint about it. It was not like banana bread, which blasts your tastebuds with banana funk. This was far more subtle, and lighter. The smattering of cranberries added a certain tang to the bread, which was highly complimentary and tended to balance it. The distribution of cranberries and the fact that they were intact let me know that they were added at the appropriate time. The crumb was coarse, but light and sufficiently moist. The bread was neither sweet nor savory. In fact, this bread could be used for a sandwich or for free-form eating.
While I was eating it, I couldn’t help but be put off by Rick’s earlier scientific analysis of the gluten strands and their contribution to the bread’s nascent elasticity, plus the usage of a diglyceride versus a triglyceride based oil and the implications such a thing would have on serum triglyceride levels, within some probability density function. I also felt somewhat guilty for not slicing it within 2 nanometers of sheer perfection, and having a crumb tray to collect the loosened fragments. Then again, Rick is an engineer, just ask him! (i.e. Lighten up and enjoy life, mister!)
Uniformity of thickness and chemical analysis aside, I actually enjoyed the bread for what it was. Bread. Pumpkin Bread. Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries. No need to analyze any further than that. Was it good? Yes. Was it good toasted? Better. Was it good toasted with the high end butter? Much better.
Overall, I am glad Rick provided my family and I with a loaf of Autumn bread. I have yet to put my lips around a pumpkin spice latte, or any other seasonally inspired beverage or food. This is truly the first. Now I feel ready to kick off the season!