It started with a visit from a neighbor who brought me three things: a paper of instructions, a ziploc full of goop, and some cinnamon bread. Pleasantries were exchanged on the doorstep after which I shut my door and shifted my eyes to the baked goods in the palm of my hand. Not even bothering to take the walk down the hall to the kitchen I took a bite, closed my eyes, and exhaled while leaning back against my wall. Crusty, cinnamony on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside. I eventually made my way to the kitchen where I finally took the time to survery the other items in my hand.
I flipped over the paper where the bold print across the top explained my delivery as "Amish Friendship Bread". My cursory glance at the rest of the directions revealed a list of ingredients and numbered instructions for how to recreate this culinary masterpiece using the bag of goop conveniently supplied for me. A more in-depth look also explained that this procedure would only take me approximately a week and a half. This was a problem, you see, because I sort of wanted more of that bread like, right now.
Day 1: Mush the bag. Sounds easy enough.
Day 2: Mush the bag.
Day 3: Mush the bag.
Day 4: Mush the bag.
Day 5: Mush the bag. I'm starting to feel ridiculous about this process. I imagine a couple of girls in black dresses and white bonnets peeking over my windowsill and giggling while whipering to each other, "She's actually falling for it!" and then running off to a barn raising to tell the rest of the village.
Day 6 is big: Add 1 cup of flour, sugar, and milk. And then mush baby, mush! Except the Amish didn't say baby. Or use the exclamation point.
Day 7: Mush the bag.
Day 8: I'm supposed to mush the bag, and in all seriousness it is a challenge to find the time. I have to go to the gym, run to Costco, make food for a youth activity, take Drew to piano, take Samantha to flute, drop off fundraiser money so my daughter can have something delivered to her on Valentine's Day in the middle of class, shop for snow boots, insert 73 self-deprecating references about how I'm not measuring up, make dinner, and campaign for world peace. I mush the bag with hostility and wonder if this is what the Amish had in mind.
Day 9: The Amish have been screwing with me for over a week now. Mush the bag.
Day 10: It is the last day. I finally get to make the bread!! I'm supposed to add a bunch of ingredients, and then divy up the batter into four separate bags to deliver to friends along with samples of the bread, and thus the cycle continues. Except this is not a good day. It's a day with no promises of any kind of 2 hour block of time to accomplish this task and I wonder if the Amish ever considered that. I'm beginning to think they don't care about me at all, but I've invested over a week of my life at this point and so I fit it in. It isn't until the bread came out of the oven and I took my first bite that I began to forgive. I conclude, "Tobias, Rachel and I? We're like THIS."
Day 11: Doesn't Betty Crocker have a recipe for cinnamon streusel cake that tastes just as good and only takes 45 minutes?
Day 12: Am I really supposed to believe that this bag of fermented slop resulting in baked nirvana started with a girl in Pennsylvania named Rebecca who wants me to widen my social circle? I google Amish Friendship Bread and this is what I get.
Day 13: Betty Crocker, page 74, "Cinnamon Streusel Cake". Prep time: 10 minutes. Ready in: 30 minutes. Giddy up.