Thursday, December 18

Sock knitting plans & a baking stone & Pushing Daisies.

I'm almost finished with the socks I'm knitting for my father, for Christmas. I shall then knit a hat for one of my dear friends here who has asked me for it (she never asks for anything so it is a special gift), and then I shall knit some socks for myself.

Nearly all the machine-made socks I have presently are becoming swiftly holey. I don't want to buy any more; my conscience would have difficulty with it now that I have such an enjoyable alternative. I love the feeling of working towards something practical. And my best friend just sent me enough gorgeous yarn to knit half a dozen pairs of the best socks!

One of my sisters gave me a Christmas present early; a baking stone. It is rather like an unglazed stoneware tray. I've read a little bit about wood-fired ovens and medieval bread-baking and without an actual oven like theirs a baking stone is the best way to replicate the experience.

The principles of cooking with it are very much like my cast iron dutch oven and saucepan. They need seasoning and are quite thick but are excellently non-stick-y and generally easier to use than plasticised aluminium with calibrated edges, &c., &c. I've made two loaves of bread on it already and the crusts have turned out much better than they do in our best loaf pans. I'm so pleased. I must ask her to find me a soup stone next.

While I've been baking and knitting I've also been listening to a recording to Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is depressing and feels like a showcase of witty statements Wilde couldn't fit into ordinary conversation, and watching a TV show that has amused me greatly. The premise of Pushing Daisies is silly and did not appeal to me. I would not have watched it at all if it had not been in a fit of restlessness (there are times when one simply must get away from Oscar Wilde) and it had not been easy at hand.

Once I began to watch it, though, I really enjoyed it. Not for the overall plot or feeling, but for the moments. The colours are marvellously bright and the events perfectly ridiculous, and the actors obviously had fun in the making. That, and I never doubt the ending. It is fun and funny and altogether comfortable. Also the hero bakes pies, and all readers of this blog know that pie-bakers are suitable heroes.