Strata @StoryADayMay #QuarantineCooking

I don’t know what’s up with my fail-safe bread recipe, but it hasn’t been rising enough. Maybe it’s depressed. (hahahahahaha — see what I did there?)

ANYWAY, it’s come out consistently denser and damper than it usually does. It very well could be the weather, which has been supersaturated. For whatever reason, the only thing I’ve been able to make well is pita bread.

We’re all “waste not, want not” around here, so we’ve eaten the best slices of the bread first.

Then Charlie, Mister WNWN himself, went to throw the tag ends of the bread away, and I was like, “Why? I can make something out of that!”

So I did.

It’s called strata, just like in geology. Picture and recipe follow today’s Story A Day May story.

Strata

I told him not to go into the cravasse.

“It’s safe, Little Wifey,” he said, tugging on the harness cable. He pointed to the tree anchoring the other end of the cable. “That guy isn’t going anywhere. I need to see the strata. Little Wifey’s got nothing to worry about.”

“My ladies group is coming this afternoon, remember?”

“Sure, sure. I’ll be back up and off to Mack’s long before the biddies get here. Don’t worry.”

I wasn’t worried. It’s just that I loved the guy, and this was going to be his last day of carefree amateur archeology. It broke my heart.

His helmet light played over the sides of the cravasse as he let himself slowly down. Motorized cable. Professional grade. Only the best for my crazy husband.

“Yeah,” he said, comparing what he saw to his dabbling studies, his voice receding into the planet’s past as he went further down. “Yeah. Yeah. Ooo, yeah.”

I couldn’t hear him touch down far below, but the motor stopped whirring, then the cable went slack when he unhooked himself.

Maybe he wouldn’t find the entrance to the cave. It was low to the ground, and he’d have to crawl downward and around curves to get to it.

But of course he did.

I felt it, when he entered the cave. I felt it, when he played his helmet light over my animals, my hunting scenes, my handprints. Then he thought of me — probably just thinking how astonished I’d look when he told me about the cave art down there, but it was enough to summon me.

Astonished is too mild a word for his expression when I appeared before him, the diffuse glow of my eyes making his helmet light look like a candle in daylight.

“This place is not for you,” I said. “Is it?”

He shook his head. “This place is not for me.”

“You’ve never been here. You never want to come here.”

“Never.”

“Go back out, hook yourself to your cable, and go back up. There’s nothing down here.”

“Nothing.”

I was waiting for him at the top.

“Well,” he said, unhooking himself, “that was a waste of time. Thanks for spotting me.”

“Sure.”

“You know…,” he said, and stopped talking while his hands automatically disassembled his gear and packed it away.

“Do I know what?”

“I just …. I think I’m done with this. I think I’m done with looking at layers of rock and playing like I’m going to make this big scientific discovery or something. Maybe Mack’ll buy my stuff off me, or maybe he’ll know some young guy who still gets off on stratification.”

“Whatever you want,” I said. “It’s up to you.”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll take all my stuff over to Mack’s this afternoon. I’m done.”

I cried a little when he said it; I felt so sorry for his loss. But I had warned him. And I wasn’t sorry that, for reasons unknown to him, he never called me Little Wifey again.

THE END

Another kind of strata:

This is better when you start with stale bread, but this bread wasn’t going to go stale; it was going to go moldy. So I fried it in vegan margarine to crisp it up a little.

Okay, but the bits of old bread in a buttered casserole. For each cup of bread, use one egg or vegan equivalent and enough milk or vegan equivalent to the egg to equal 1/2 cup. Pour that over the bread.

Now you can add whatever you want. We weren’t going vegan or vegetarian so, in addition to mushrooms and yellow peppers, we added shredded cheese and bacon bits. You do you.

You have to let this sit for a while, so the bread absorbs the liquid. I just covered it and refrigerated it overnight and baked it in the morning.

I cooked this in the toaster oven, so I covered it with foil. It cooks at 350F, and the time depends on how much stuff is in the casserole. It’s done when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Charlie said, “I never thought you could make anything out of that bread, but this is good!” High praise, from somebody who usually says, “Eating is a bore.”

I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about one of our comfort meals.

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about a hole in the ground.

MA

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About

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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