Bread and bacon serve up a universal table
By Judith Dunbar Hines For Sun-Times Media May 23, 2014 5:16PM
Cheese and bacon bread
Makes one 9” x 5” loaf
2 cups flour
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
Pre-heat oven to 350º. Grease a 9” x 5” loaf pan. Measure flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add egg, milk and oil and use electric mixer on medium to mix for 1 minute to make a sticky batter. Stir in cheese and bacon by hand. Spoon batter into pan and bake 45-50 minutes. Test to see if it’s done by sticking a toothpick into the center; if the toothpick is clean when you pull it out, the bread is done. Put hot pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove bread from pan carefully and let cool a little longer before cutting. Slice and serve slightly warm.
Updated: May 23, 2014 8:27PM
Days fly by. Years zoom. Time goes by in a flash.
In planning this column I discovered it was Number 100 for this paper. Then I did some math and realized it was also the anniversary of my move to the food world. Thirty-five years ago? Oh my goodness.
I’d always wanted to be an interior designer. When I became one, I realized it was not the career for me. I stumbled around through a series of hobby cooking classes until someone suggested I should take this new love seriously. After culinary school, I was unclear about a specific direction until a move to a new state gave me the chance to “do whatever you want” in uncharted territory.
Amid the ranchlands of Texas I built a cooking school and cookware store and, not always successfully, tried to learn to slow down, spice up, and endure three straight months of temperatures hotter than 100 degrees.
With the naiveté of the initiate, I dared to teach the locals all about regional Chinese food and fancy French delights. Not all of those lessons were welcomed.
Bread and soup classes, however, went well and once I began to relax and fit in, classes filled, topics expanded and the shop became a meeting place for people, shared ideas and lots of laughter.
As a bonus, I soon learned to make great Tex-Mex dishes from my students, some who still send me recipes and cooking tips or share stories from the days when The Northerner invaded their small town.
Reflecting on those days, I asked my former assistant at the shop to remind me of one of the first successful class recipes. She immediately sent this one.
We both remembered making several loaves each week for our take-out market. Simple it is, but some things are universal. Simplicity and bread are always in style. And no matter what state you’re in, bacon always sells.