Alcoholics and Half-baked Relationships Part 1: Recipe


I love to make bread. If it didn’t stick to my belly, I’d bake all the time. I have a bread recipe that Grandma wrote out for me when I was young. Hers calls for 18 cups of white flour and 2 cups of what she called graham flour (wheat). Add to that some salt, a little sugar, some yeast and potato water. She mixed it all up in a green granite dishpan, put the pan on her chair and stooped over to knead it vigorously for quite a long time. I can still hear the pan clunking against the wooden chair seat. Then she covered it with a dishtowel and set it in a warm spot.

I’ve been thinking about how relationships and bread making compare. I found some parallels.

Being an alcoholic in recovery has given me frequent opportunities to examine my relationships. I don’t always like what I learn about myself, but I try not to shy away from growing. Just like taking grandma’s well-loved recipe and adding a pinch more salt, growing feels good and I like myself better when I’m letting God change me.

If my relationship with the addict is not working, it seems one of two things is happening. They either don’t want to change how we relate, or they think the relationship isn’t  broken. Usually, this other person thinks that the problem lies with me. That’s fascinating to me and often true. It comes down to expectations of mine that need to die.

Recipe for Grandma Smith’s Bread

18 C unbleached flour
2 ½ C graham flour (whole wheat)
2 T salt
2 T sugar
Combine in large dish pan and warm slightly in warming oven of wood stove.
Mix 2 heaping teaspoons yeast granules and 1/3 C warm water from reservoir. Let rise.
Dump yeast mix into flour after stirring a little.
Add 2 C scalded milk, cooled
Add ½ C lard, warmed in metal cup on stove.
Add 5 C leftover warm potato water. (Or cook one medium potato, in 5 C of water and mash.)
Punch down and knead with sprinkles of white flour until soft dough stops taking extra flour.
Let rise in warm spot until double. Punch down and make loaves. Bake once loaves feel light in the pans.
Bake 350 for one hour.