The delicious Mrs Dahl, actually has the perfect way of talking about food – through emotions. But I guess that’s what happens with food. There’s always an emotional connection with it. Whether a reminder or a new experience that’s being created.
But if you think about it, isn’t that the way it is with food?
You crave something specific when you feel sad or happy or just celebrating. Food is always a player somewhere in the theatre of emotions.
Recently, on one of those dreary Cape Town rainy days, I decided to tackle bread rolls. I felt like it and after all, there’s nothing like a freshly baked bread smell when it’s a cold, miserable day outside. Therefore it made sense.
However when I was midst in kneading (I still prefer to do it by hand) and listening to one of Adele’s songs, I was utterly surprised to notice tears running down my face. What now with the bread, as your emotions do reflect in your food – I don’t want to make sad bread for the family!
But, the bread rolls have to be done and I just kept on kneading the dough. Perhaps that is just what you must do sometimes, just experience the emotions. And if you want to cry, just do it. Just as much as you must sometimes just make the bread or the cakes or the stew or the pancakes – even if it’s for no specific occasion or reason. You don’t always need a specific reason or occasion for food. And that is just the trick, if you feel like it, just make it. When you dish it up to friends or family or even just give it to someone, you will realise the reason why you had to do it.
So yes, food can invoke emotions, even as intense as what people experienced in Chocolat when Vianne handed over the special hot chocolate.
Here is my recipe for my melancholy sunflower seed bread rolls. I must say, it was good and didn’t make any of us sad after we ate it. Rather the opposite.
500g Cake flour
80g Sunflower seeds for the bread
Additional sunflower seeds for topping
1 packet instant yeast (10g)
500ml – 1L of lukewarm water
Sift your dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, salt).
Add the yeast and mix well.
Add the 80g of sunflower seeds and mix through.
Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and add the lukewarm water bit by bit. Take note that you will not use all the water, as it will depend on the weather/humidity. So gradually add it while mixing the dry ingredients with it.
You can do this with a fork, however I prefer to use my fingers. This gives you more control. And above all, you get the feel for the dough forming, which is important to know when you’re ready to start kneading.
When the dough come together comfortably and comes away from the bowl and is less sticky, turn it out on a floured surface.
Now start kneading the dough. Do this for around 10 minutes.
This is until you get a nice elastic dough.
Place in an oiled bowl and just lightly oil the top with a brush (to prevent cracks).
Now place it under a tea towel (I have my favourite one to proof dough) and set aside to proof, until double in size.
Dependent on the weather it can take from 40 minutes onwards.
Knock back the dough and then shape it in the shape and number of rolls you want.
Place these on pre-prepared (either sprayed or buttered) baking trays.
Whisk up the egg and brush each roll on the top – this is your ‘glue’. After brushing sprinkle the sunflower seeds for topping over the roll.
Cover lightly and let these proof again until double, around 20/30 minutes
Place in a pre-heated oven (180°C). Let them bake for around 20 – 25 minutes.
Check them after 15 minutes, as your oven might be a lot faster.
They’re ready when you knock them at the bottom and they sound hollow.
Naturally, you could’ve also added some lemon zest to these rolls.