If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with
Cinnamon egg bagels
. Remember that old chestnut? That old motivational adage from the seventies? It was usually printed in some flowery font over a blazing sunset that was meant to be inspiring but always looked more apocalyptic to me. Because the adage is all very well, but what if it goes, “If you love something set it free, and it probably loves you very much and fully intends to come back to you eventually, but it might chase a squirrel across the street and get hit by a car before it has the chance”? What about that scenario? This is how my mind works! When I love someone, I worry about them, and I like to keep them close beside me in the gentle prison of my anxiety. But I’m an equal opportunity worrier! Everybody gets this smother-love – David, the boys, the dog – there’s plenty to go around, because it feeds on itself and grows like a little worry culture. Putting a positive spin on this characteristic, I would say that it’s the result of my prodigious imagination. I can’t not picture a million different outcomes to every event, most of them dire. Sure they’re unlikely, but they could
happen, they probably have
happened, some time in history! Apparently there’s a name for this – David heard it on the radio. It’s called catastrophizing. He does it, too, which means that our boys are in for a real treat as they enter their teenage years. In an interesting turn of events, it’s Malcolm–my firstborn baby and probably the recipient of my most intense anxious affection–who is helping me to overcome it. Our old dog, Steenbeck, was a racer. If you let her off-leash, she’d take off, and she was scarily fast. She was a hunter, so her doggy instincts would override her sense of obedience and any persuasive influence of the comforts of domesticity, and she’d be gone. So I never ever let her off-leash. I never set her free. Well, things have changed this time around. Malcolm and I take Clio for walks. We came to a field way down the tow path, far from the street. “Let her go, mom,” Malcolm said. “Oh no no,” I replied, “we have to wait and see what kind of dog she is. We don’t know her well enough yet. In fact, we probably won’t know her well enough until she’s about fourteen, and too old to get very far very fast.” And then Malcolm just…dropped her leash. She raced around a bit, and then she came back! He threw a stick, she ran after it, and then she came back! She made little circles and explored different areas of the field, but we were always the center if her attention, and she always came back to us! The other night after dinner we went for a walk on the other
other side of the canal, and I took her leash right off! She raced along side of us, collecting the boys when they got too far ahead or lagged too far behind. She danced between Malcolm and Isaac, and always came back to me, white paws flashing in a blur of grey, eyes bright and happy. And I felt happy, too, I felt nearly ecstatic. It feels good to let go for a time. The other day, Malcolm told me that I could have a lifelong play date with him until he’s eighteen. “What happens when you turn eighteen?” I asked. “Oh, I’ll probably live on the other side of the world.” And you know, I hope he does–for a while–when he’s ready. I hope I’m strong enough to let him go. It’s a comfort to know that when it comes time, he’ll be the one to help me through it.
My boys don’t like cinnamon raisin bagels. But they love cinnamon. I can’t find plain cinnamon bagels anywhere, so I decided to make them myself. I’ve been making bagels nearly every week since I first made the pumpkin bagels some months ago. I’ve been trying to perfect the skill. One week I burned them, one week I added whole wheat flour, which was good, but a little coarse. I think these turned out really well! Light and dense and chewy, just like a bagel should be. They have a little cinnamon sugar folded in, as well as cinnamon in the original mix, but it’s quite a subtle flavor. You could add another teaspoon of cinnamon if you’re interested in something pow-ier.
Here’s The Velvet Underground with I’m Set Free.
1 cups warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
2 T sugar
1 t yeast
2 T maple syrup
4 cups flour
2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
a few spoonfuls cinnamon sugar
Combine the 1 cup warm water, the warm milk, sugar and yeast in a large bowl, and leave to get foamy – ten or fifteen minutes. Stir in the eggs and maple syrup. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon, and stir or mix with your hands until well-combined. Knead for about five minutes till it’s soft and pliant, adding more flour as necessary to make it workable. I like to try to work with it as wet and sticky as possible. Towards the last minute of kneading, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar into the dough, and work it in, but not completely. Leave to double in bulk 2-5 hours. Punch down. (You can let it rise a second time at this point, if you, say, need to pick your kids up from school, but I don’t think it’s necessary, if you really can’t wait for your bagels!) Break into 8 pieces. Roll each into a ball. Poke a hole in the center, and shape like a bagel! Set on a cookie sheet to proof while you…Preheat the oven to 450 and prepare the…
THE WATER BATH
3 quarts water
1 T sugar
Bring the water to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil turn the heat off, you want the temperature to be just below boiling.
Drop as many bagels as will comfortably fit into the water bath. (I could fit four) They should rise right to the top. Cook twenty seconds, and gently turn over to cook for another twenty seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain in a colander and then set on the ungreased baking sheet, leaving a bit of space because they’ll puff up slightly.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes till they’re golden brown. Lovely toasted with butter!!