And yet...the first Ithaca Farmer's Market of the season was happening, and I joined my old friend Alan Poole for a visit to the land of hearty-looking breadladies and spun maple sugar. We got some white bean soup and braved the cold wind off the lake to enter the open-air barn that houses a very robust farmer's market. Oh, what wonderful things!We bought bread from this artisan stand. I bought a loaf of Amadama bread, a curious thing...it rolled around and around in my mind; I knew I'd baked it in the past; I knew I loved it, but I couldn't remember any more than that. Alan jogged my memory. "It was a recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book." Yes! Back in the late 70's I lived in a big old house in Petersham, MA, where we baked breads from that collection of monastery recipes. So I bought the loaf and brought it home--so sweet and brown and good. Here's what I've found about it on the Web, from a Los Angeles Times article from 1922:
Indian (fine corn) meal, stirring all the time. When cool, add one bread spoon of lard,
one-half cup of molasses, one dessert spoon of salt, one-half yeast cake
dissolved in one-half cup of luke-warm water, and flour to make a stiff batter.
Knead well and rise in again, let rise in the pans till almost double in bulk,
The name "Amadama" is a curious one. It is almost impossible to find anyone
who can explain its origin convincingly. Perhaps the most feasible story
regarding it is the following:
When Mrs. John Johnston of Gloucester, MA first introduced the bread, she called
it "Epidemic Bread,"which name was mispronounced by an ignorant maid in one
customer's home, who called it "amadama" housewives clamored for it and it became
most popular. For this reason Mr. Johnston called it "Epidemic Bread," which name was
mispronounced by an ignorant maid in one customer's home, who called it "amadama"
bread (instead of "epidemic.") From that time on many customers, who heard of
the maid's mispronunciation, called it "madama" in fun--which name became a fixture.
I'm doubting that these women have lard anywhere near their kitchen, so perhaps butter would suffice. As you know, lard is a staple in my kitchen, if only for Zick dough. The amadama bread is the toasty looking loaf at the very bottom margin of the photo. I was to regret my purchase upon climbing on the scales back home. Bread and pasta are now struck once again from my diet. Sigh. Travel eating is the worst. Somehow, you think it won't count, until you get home. Why do carbs have to taste soooo good? Begone. No more.
I always get a kick out of kids in college communities like Ithaca. They all look like fortune-tellers.
This would, for me, define the Gig from Hell. Give the man a Pignose.
Our Swinging Orangutangs gig at the Whipple Tavern last Friday night was anything but. We had a steady full house and the most marvelous time, and our tips plus the spaghetti dinner hosted by the tavern brought in over $500 for pocket money for the sixth grade class trip to Pittsburgh. We played a mini-set of songs from "Boogie Nights" that I'm fairly certain have never been played in that space, including "Best of My Love," with screaming female vocal harmonies between me and Jess; "Jungle Boogie," sung by Bill of the Birds, "Get Down Tonight," sung by JZ, "Brick House," by BOTB (he does a real nasty job on that one.) Jess does an amazing job on the vocal and antic keyboard of Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good." Yes, it was something completely different. It was such fun that we looked up and it was 12:30.
More Ithaca anon.