I made ciabatta the other day as part of my Great Christmas Feast. It quite literally took twenty hours to prepare (the bread). Sure, it turned out crunchy and yummy – but not twenty hours delicious. I figure that if you put that much time into something, if you dedicate all that attention to something, it better be orgasmically good. That’s right – I consider the prep four-play and the dish bliss.
This ciabatta left me…unsatisfied. At some point during the process it occurred to me that I was making a glorified pizza dough and why was I spending all this time making pizza? But I stuck with it hoping – despite the nagging notion otherwise – to be pleasantly surprised in the end. I wasn’t.
With that said, it was a Martha Stewart recipe. Her recipes are almost always a disappointment and yet I fall for them every time because they are Martha’s. This most recent failure to impress my taste buds makes me wonder why she has the ability to draw me in again and again? The truth is, most of her recipes are aggrandizements of basic dishes – simple food puffed up to seem pretentious and therefore prestigious, or, in this case, delicious. In the end though, it’s the simple version that has the biggest reward. There is a purity of the everyday dish that translates somehow to flavor.
So, twenty hours and two loaves later I enjoyed a crusty, steaming slice of bread and wondered why I still considered going through all that effort again when I knew what the result would be – because I was, in that moment, thinking of making the same recipe again. And then my brain jumped from Martha to men and why I keep going back for the ciabatta when pizza satisfies so much more.