What do you do when you can’t take it anymore? Where does it take you? Where do you pour out your sorrows, injustices, harsh slaps in the face? What do you do when you can’t do anything?
But you still feel it.
That’s the beauty, that’s the shitty part of us: we feel. No matter how hard and how far we run, no matter what we do to make it go away. It simply doesn’t. Because humans are made to feel.
So now what? Let’s say, your sorrow is yours only and there’s no one you can confide. Or you can, but no one can solve it but you. Or not to solve it, but it’s still only yours to deal with. Feel it. And it roars in your stomach like a hungry beast and goes up to your lungs and heart and burst into tears in your throat and eyes fill with your soul.
Well, you can go punch the living daylight out of someone, but that never did any good to anyone, except lawyers. Also, one simply cannot punch the daylights out of… lets say… your mother in law, right? No matter how sweet that thought is. But you don’t, because you love yourself more.
So what did I do. I turned my back. I chose not to fight that fight. I chose not to punch the living daylight out of myself either by rumbling that muddy and awful smelly swamp monster of thoughts anymore. I chose not to stoop to that monster’s level and went on with my stuff.
Now that is a lie, of course. I didn’t chose anything. I just went to cook something because I didn’t know any better. With my head all light and eyes blurred with tears, I just grabbed the first whatnot that came upon my hands. Cooking calms me down. I’m in control of what’s going on (most of the time, anyway). I know what to expect. My pots and pans shine steel and copper light and love when I scrub them and fill them with delicious food. My children and everyone I love are around me in my kitchen. My soul and minds collide in the most beautiful way when I cook. And afterwards I write. That’s my job, my life, my straw to grab when I hang from a cliff, my safe haven, my refuge, my kitchen is me.
I still feel my sorrows, slaps and injustices. I still did not punch my mother in law and I won’t. Karma’s a bitch, so I don’t have to.
So, by now it’s obvious that I kneaded my stress out of my system. And it felt good. To be stressed free, to be free of those ugly thoughts that lead nowhere, that cannot change anything or anyone. It felt good to feel the beautiful scent of olives that lay in soft dough of the focaccia like on a soft pillow. Simple but so rewarding: just flour, water, their friend yeast followed by dash of salt and handful of olives.
And that was it. And the sorrow was soothed away. Not by eating. But by doing, by giving your minds into something. By putting your hands into soul’s work. Stress yourself away by this beautiful bread. Find comfort in loving, creating and sharing with your loved ones.
Vegan olive&herbs focaccia
adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Bread
25g fresh yeast (1 tbsp+1tsp dry yeast)
350 ml/1 1/2 cup tepid water
3 tbsp olive oil
600 g bread flour (4 1/2 cups)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp of your favourite herbs
10 – 15 olives
For brushing the focaccia:
4 tbsp olive oil
powdered garlic to taste
dry herbs to taste
In a big bowl melt the yeast in tepid water, add oil and mix well. Add flour, salt and knead with stand or hand mixer for good 10 – 15 mins. The dough should be soft and elastic but not sticky. If it is, it won’t be once it’s risen. Just don’t add more flour or your focaccia will be dense and not so soft and fluffy. Cover the bowl with a lid or foil and leave it till it doubles in volume, about an hour.
Cut a piece of parchment/baking paper sized by your largest baking sheet (around 40×40 cm/16 inches). Sprinkle some flour on the paper, put the dough on it, knead it a little bit, adding so little flour just to be able to deal with the dough. If you want herbs in dough and not just on the top of it, now it’s the time to add it. Form a ball and then spread it gently with the top of your fingers till you get oval/circle shape 2,5 cm/1 inch thick. Randomly prick the dough with your finger and put the olive in the indentaton. Sprinkle with more dry herbs and drizzle olive oil. Transfer it on a baking sheet and let it sit untill the oven heats to 200°C/400 F. Bake your focaccia for 30 – 35 mins or till it gets all nice and golden brown. Mine is a little darker than it probably should but excuse my new and moody oven. Let focaccia cool down till you serve it. If you cut it while it’s hot, it’ll get all dry, rough and gummy and your stomach may ache a lot. So resist the temptation, if you can. Serve instead of bread with stews and cream soups or just as it is. Remeber to serve it with love 🙂