â€œLuxury is not a necessity to me, but beautiful and good things are.â€ — AnaÃ¯s Nin
Around this time three days ago I was sitting at San Francisco airport waiting for my flight back to Detroit. I had spent the greater part of the week with family — my parents, sister, and grandma mostly — to visit my grandpa who has been in the hospital with pneumonia for the past month.
Many afternoons we sat by his side to reminisce, joke about life’s little things and of course, talk about food. While his appetite isn’t where it used to be, he requested nibbles of dim sum (specifically chicken feet) and Chinese noodle soup.
He has good days and he has bad days.
Life is such a precious thing isn’t it? In the end it doesn’t matter how many techie gadgets you’ve collected or however distant places you’ve traveled. Even the glossiest of high-paid jobs means nothing because in the end, really, it all comes down to how many lives you’ve touched over the years. And my grandpa, despite his extensive list of skill-sets and accolades in life (can you say baker-carpenter-storekeeper-piÃ±atamaker-painter-mambodancer-everythingunderthesun) has brightened the days of countless persons. He is so loved by many.
I enjoy baking for one reason and one reason only: It brings me closer to grandpa.
The man can mix flour, water and salt together and it would be the most delicious thing you’d ever had.
A few weeks ago I tried my hand at fig bread. After experimenting with figs in the savory pizza world I sought a more delicate, tea-time sort of vehicle for the tender figs.
I couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out. First, I roasted the figs in honey and then mashed them together until they were soft and mushy (think: mashed bananas for banana bread). Then, I added lots of brown sugar, vanilla, and spiced rum. Yes, you heard me right. Spiced rum.
After I poured it into a bread pan I dotted the top with sliced figs, stems and all. As pretty as they were, I couldn’t be persuaded to pluck them off and I didn’t mind having a chew of them when I took a bite. But if you don’t like having inedible objects in your vittles please feel free to abstain and pluck away. Or, just eat them anyway. (giggle)
Honey-roasted fig bread
Makes 1 loaf