Honey tamari bagels

Honey tamari bagels

Honey tamari bagels

I’m in a mood to submit things! I want to send out a million stories and queries and copies of my film or my screenplay, I want to send them to anybody I can think of! Maybe it’s the spring weather, making me feel as though I need to plant a lot of seeds, so that I can sit by and eagerly watch them rise up out of the ground! In my dreams I’ll have a whole garden of bright, unfurling green shoots, and who knows what they’ll become? Who knows? I want to be on tenterhooks every time I check my email or collect the real mail, because you never know what could happen! Somebody somewhere might like something. It’s not impossible. It happens to people sometimes. Not me, ever, but you never know! And they’ll be all, “well we want to pay you hundreds of dollars for this remarkable two-page story, and set you up with a lucrative contract for writing novels and cookbooks and making films–you’ll have complete artistic freedom, and you’ll really have no financial worries for the rest of your days.” And I’ll be all, “don’t insult me, man. It’s not about the money, it’s about the art, you can keep your contract.” Yeah. I was searching for places to submit things, this morning–you know, any random place accepting any kind of submission, and I came across the online version of a very hip literary magazine. And the funny thing about this online version of a very hip literary magazine was that all of the contributions were hip, ironic little pieces that disparaged ironic hipsters!! I don’t even know what that is. It would be self-loathing, if it involved that much passion, but it obviously didn’t, because it’s very hard to maintain a sarcastic tone if you’re feeling any actual emotion. I felt very curmudgeonly, reading this online literary magazine. I felt cranky about the fact that the word “ironic” is so overused that it no longer has much meaning. I felt cranky because what I was reading wasn’t satire, it could barely muster the energy to be sarcastic, it was just clever and snarky. And I felt a little sad because nothing beautiful can come from such insincerity and soullessness. It’s so easy to be negative and critical and cruel. It’s so easy to elicit a response to mockery and hatred. These are the kind of seeds that grow fast and hardy. They’re bright and colorful and hard to miss. They crowd out the more fragile, less impressively-blossomed plants. They have a funny smell, and they don’t last very long, but there will always be plenty more to take their place.

I said I’d been putting tamari and honey in everything lately, so of course, sooner or later it would be bagels. I thought these were really good. The flavor is very subtle, as I believe flavor should be in a bagel. But it’s a nice mix of savory and sweet. It’s umami, mama.

This is beautiful! It’s Sara and Maybelle Carter singing Sweet Fern.
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Cinnamon egg bagels

Cinnamon egg bagels

Cinnamon egg bagels

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. 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.
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