A Bowl of Cherries

by Rachel Crain on June 9, 2011 · 5 comments

in Salt Blog

Life is just a bowl of cherries.
Don’t take it serious; it’s too mysterious.
You work, you save, you worry so,
But you can’t take your dough when you go,
So keep repeating it’s the berries.

The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned.
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries,
So live and laugh at it all.

- Depression-era song, “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries”

There are no job prospects on the horizon for me but I’m remarkably at peace with that. We are making our mortgage. We are paying above the minimum on lines of credit and on schedule to pay off most of our debt by 2013. Now that we are half way through with 2011 the future is much closer than the weight of debt can make it seem. My attitude about spending money is changing and along with it my attitude about what I want. Want.

What I wanted was to keep my appointment at the salon but I colored my hair with a $10.00 boxed solution from the drug store. Tomorrow I will get my ends trimmed for $14.95 at a national salon chain. I know people who would not only never ever do this but if they did they would surely never ever cop to it. I never thought I was that person but the fact that I’m talking about it like it’s a capitol Something must point towards evidence that I am. I was. At least a little.

I also wanted that job at The Monte Carlo. Then I wanted the job at Zappos. I really wanted The Cosmpolitan. Or Ceasars Entertainment Group.  I wanted The Wynn to call me back. And the wine shop, too. I wanted any one of my two dozen or so resumés to do the trick, land the gig, show me the money.

What I didn’t want was to cold call interesting local businesses to ask if they were hiring. But I did.
I didn’t want to get dressed up and walk into favorite boutiques and shops where I used to spend, spend, spend and ask for an application like a teenager. But I did.
I didn’t want my parents to buy me a plane ticket to visit them at home in Denver this summer. But they did.
I didn’t want to ask my 15-year old niece to come with her own spending money when she visited. But she did. And guess what? We had a great time because she loves me and I love her. And we laughed and created memories and added years to our life in that way. And there was $60 remaining when she left and we felt good about that together.

Also, my hair looks fine and Ann Taylor Loft is hiring.  Maybe they will hire me and I can wear my closet full of clothes I bought there when I didn’t need another new outfit but wanted one anyway.

My dad recently advised me to remember that all we really need is our daily bread and that God will provide. It’s about receiving your portion one day at a time, being grateful one day at a time and trusting that there is more to come, one day at a time. I may not have a job yet but I have my daily bread plus the butter and some jam, too. I don’t need to want anymore because I have. I realize that this sounds a bit syrupy and I do anticipate days ahead where I will not want to count my blessings, when I will be bored and insecure. Days when I will think that Janeane Garofalo was right when she joked that, “the glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth.” But until then, especially then, I will try to remember that what I really have is a peace that allows me to sleep well at night. I have a shifting mentality about money that is taking me into that blissful less is more territory. I have a freedom with my days that I’ve always wanted. (Uh-oh, there’s that word again.) I have a supportive husband who stands by me with love and encouragement every time a prospective job falls through. I have more than my share of daily bread and a bowl that is filled with cherries.

Which brings me to my newest blog recipe.

When life chops down your cherry tree I strongly recommend that you get busy in the kitchen. Cherry pitting releases aggression and making bread gives you a sense of satisfaction. It does. Every time. I promise. And then share the bread with someone and allow yourself to be reminded that all that you want may be what you already have.

Fresh Cherry Quick Bread with Rum Butter Glaze
I found the bread recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. A Google search for cherry bread recipes revealed mostly the use of dried cherries but I specifically wanted to use fresh and this was the only one I found. Interestingly, many use coriander, a rarely used spice in any of my cooking. The original bread is not iced or glazed but in my opinion there is nothing wrong with adding rum or butter to just about anything! The glaze recipe is a rum twist on a classic bourbon variation. If you eat this bread right away it will be elegant. Light, warm and custardy. More savory from the coriander and rum than sweetened from the barely-there glaze. Because of the milk and butter in the glaze you will want to refrigerate any leftovers. In the morning it will be dense, chewy and so moist. The savory edge from the night before will be gone and replaced with a with a coffee cake like sweetness and slight crunch from the hardened glaze. Warm or cold, this cherry bread is my new favorite.

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tablespoon coriander (you can also use cardamom)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup (1/2 pound) fresh pitted cherries, unpitted with a cherry pitter. (Be mindful that the pits are removed and check your cherries before adding to the batter to avoid chipping a tooth later. Ouch!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and extract.

Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet ingredients. Stir in the cherries and mix until combined.

Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. (*Mine only took 40-minutes and it was perfect. Do not overcook this bread, texture is very important.) Insert a skewer or cake tester; it will come out dry when the bread is done.

While the bread cools for 5 minutes make the Rum Butter Glaze. Then, using a toothpick poke several holes in the top of the bread to allow the glaze to drip down inside.  Rather than dumping the glaze over the bread apply it by the spoonful. You want it to be soaked up on all sides and down through the toothpick holes.

A note about the glaze: When you’re done there should be a low shine to the bread and your pan should not be so filled with glaze that the bread is swimming. I like minimal sweetness and a glaze that does not flake off like a glazed donut would so I use it sparingly. You want to avoid an opaque iced looking whiteness. It would be overkill for this bread.

Rum Butter Glaze

2 TBS butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 TBS rum (or more if you like a boozy flavor..some people do!)
4 – 5 teaspoons milk

Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Cool slightly.
Add powdered sugar, rum and milk; whisk until smooth and ready to drizzle!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess June 10, 2011 at 5:37 am

This entry reminded me of a quote I love: “Life isn’t about getting what you want….it’s about wanting what you’ve got”

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Rachel Crain June 11, 2011 at 6:57 am

I kept thinking of an old Sinead O’Connor song “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.” After I wrote this post I went to a thrist store to look for clothes for the first time since my very early 20′s. It felt as normal now as it did then. I want to get back to that place where I thought making $12 p/h would solve all my problems and be everything I needed.

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Shannon June 11, 2011 at 6:21 am

Great post Rach! You are a gifted writer! I too am TRYING to learn to live with less. I can boast that Im ever grateful for what I do have but Im a horrible wanter-always have been. Im trying to change that. Anyway-inspiring! The recipe sounds amazing!! It made my mouth water! We have a cherry tree and Ive been collecting cherries for two seasons. Its hard to beat the birds to them. Maybe I can make the cherry bread this summer after I collect one more batch!

Love ya!! Keep em coming:)

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Rachel Crain June 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

Thank you! Being satisfied with you already have and learning to live with less is not easy. I think I am just now approaching a sincere atitude about it but it’s fleeting, some days I have a better grasp on it than others. I am SUPER good at bargains though so even when I’m in a place of want, spend, want, spend at least I am paying way below retail for almost everything except groceries. I don’t comprimise on my grocery habits and will use most of my money there on fresh veggies and healthy food. It’s an investment in my self and the people I love and feed.

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