• ljboulet

Let me take a moment to be thankful; it’s a fitting time of year to do so.

By: Dr. Monica de Baca

I hear many people saying “Oh, I can’t wait for 2020 to be over” and, while I agree there have been more than the usual number of tribulations, I’m still quite grateful for this year.

Admittedly, my socioeconomic status has let me weather this year’s storms in relative ease and comfort. When my pathology group needed to cut back due to plummeting caseloads (and, therefore $$), I found myself with extra free time some days. Imagine taking a walk during the day – that never happens! -- around a lovely lake near home. When I found myself at home all of my non-working time, it has felt like a comfortable sigh: this socially-competent introvert was suddenly expected to have alone time! When I’m at home, I’m with a wonderful person who actually chooses to be with me. Life is good.

And then came the need to still be connected and doing things for people. I’ve been an avid baker for more years than most would imagine possible, so I upped my bread output and started delivering fresh bread and rolls to the neighborhood. I learned who’s always on a diet, who’s gluten sensitive and who just loves bread. But it wasn’t quite enough. As a kid, I was in 4-H, and the pledge says “I pledge my head..heart..hands…health… to my club, my community, my country and my world.” My neighborhood was set. I needed something more.

And then I heard about Northwest Bread Bakers. A creative woman in the greater Seattle area, where I live, had begun making bread to donate to Hopelink, an organization working to end poverty in the area. Katherine knows what she’s doing-- she directs the growth and activities of the Specialty Desserts & Breads programs at the Seattle Culinary Academy. She and a group of friends developed a recipe for a honey-oat sourdough bread loaf that uses regional flours and has no preservatives. Their formulation is healthy and delicious; it also has a long shelf life. Their first donation was 9 loaves of bread. Now over 600 bakers are using that recipe, baking and delivering bread on Sunday nights to a hub location; on Monday mornings the loaves go to Hopelink and then on to food pantries and other sites of distribution to people in need. Last week, 1044 loaves were donated.

I’m thankful for Katherine, for the work she’s doing, and for the opportunity to bake for my community. Gifts comes at the oddest times, in the least expected ways—say, in a pandemic, via baking.It’s a win all around. I love to bake and people need bread.

And, love is nothing - until you give it away.

What are you thankful for?

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