losing your mind is underrated

October 27, 2013

cinnamon raisin soda bread

I saw this quote on the website True Activist  – and I’ve been thinking about it – trying to work out if it’s really true or not….losing your mind

For what it’s worth, I think NOT following your heart can also mean losing your mind.

And no offence intended but losing your mind for a while might be underrated.

While you’re busy trying to relocate it, you could find a whole lot of other stuff – insight, empathy, depth, emotional capacity, new paths, new friends, tree-hugging. You might just figure out a few things like the importance of dogs or the meaning of life and better understand that thing we refer to as the human condition.

A couple of years ago I was on a long, solo drive to Northern Ontario when I heard an ancient, crackly interview with McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters. Muddy was a blues musician – considered to be the father of the Chicago blues.

It was an interview that left me spellbound. I cranked it up because of the static on the old recording. I didn’t want it to end. I just wanted him to keep talking. He had this deep, raw voice and soothing drawl. He spoke slowly and carefully and every word was like poetry.

The interviewer asked him why he chose to play the blues, he answered something to the effect that, “I lived the blues. And because sooner or later – we all know the blues. If you haven’t lived the blues yet – just keep living. And if you haven’t known great joy yet – just keep living.”

I love this answer. I’ve thought of it many times. It’s so honest and real and powerful. And somehow incredibly encouraging.

At his funeral in 1983, it was said of him that, “Muddy was a master of just the right notes.”

So this weekend, while I was busy thinking about following your heart and losing your mind, and living through blues and great joys, I had family over and did a bunch of cooking. Amongst other things, I made a couple of batches of this soda bread. It’s so fabulous because you can have fresh home-made bread in half an hour. Slightly less if you’re really well-organized. It takes 5 minutes to mix a batch up and then about 18 minutes for it to cook. And it’s SO good. Honestly.

I  made two versions – one with raisins and cinnamon – and one with rosemary, olives and sun-dried tomatoes. There’s no added sugar here – and you won’t miss it.

Cinnamon Raisin Soda Bread (adapted from a recipe in Canadian House and Home)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup buttermilk (I used 1/8 cup vinegar and 7/8 cup of milk – and I also made a dairy-free (vegan) version using almond milk and vinegar – worked perfectly)

Preheat oven to 400 deg F.

Mix together the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir well so that the baking soda and salt are evenly distributed. Add the raisins. Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently.

Turn onto a lightly floured board and roll the dough once or twice to coat in flour. Form into a ball. Slash top with a sharp knife to make an X. Place in a well buttered Pyrex dish (1 quart should be fine) or on a pie plate. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until browned and crusty. Cool on a wire rack.

Sun-Dried Tomato, Olive, and Rosemary Soda Bread (pictured below)

Make as above but omit the cinnamon and raisins. Cut the salt to 1/2 tsp. Add 1/4 cup chopped black kalamata olives, 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (the kind in oil) and 2 tsp fresh, chopped rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary).

olive rosemary and sun-dried tomato soda bread

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  • Reply Donna October 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I’m a sucker for bread, Aunt Lindy!!! I’m worried what this “quick bread” recipe will do to my hips… 🙂 I can’t wait to try it…and I may share it with others. Xoxo

  • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen October 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Oh Donna – you’re such a sweetheart. You can cut this bread super finely and then it doesn’t do anything to your hips! Plus seriously Donna – you’re gorgeous and who cares about hips?
    I missed “owling” again – I know. I’ve discovered – but not been yet – to an owl sanctuary near Niagara. I just wish you lived about 200 miles closer and I’d be there in a flash to go owling with you. xox

  • Reply Johnnysenough Hepburn October 27, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Think I might try this tomorrow night. I sort of would prefer to go with the olive version, excepting for the lack of olives in my fridge right now. I seem to go through so many of them! May not be able to buy the rosemary. Huh, will figure that out tomorrow 🙂 Your bread looks amazing, btw.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen October 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks Johnny – coming from you – with all your fabulous breads that’s a much appreciated compliment! The olive version was great with a wedge of cheese (and a glass of wine) but the raisin one was, I think, even better. 😉

  • Reply Maria Dernikos October 28, 2013 at 5:34 am

    The bread drew me in and then I got sucked in with ‘following your heart means losing your mind’ I have turned it over and over in my mind. It makes me think of the saying when someone has gone and done something exciting or swayed from normal ‘has he lost his mind’ which could mean they have followed their heart?
    Then I read fresh bread in half an hour and I was back to the recipe. The winds are howling here and I don’t fancy going out for bread, maybe just maybe I will be making this today because it looks and sounds fabulous!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen October 28, 2013 at 5:44 am

      Maria – this is precisely why I missed you so much. I think you are absolutely right. If someone strays from the norm we assume they’ve lost their minds rather than assuming they are following their hearts. I guess the trick is knowing when, and where, and how far to follow our hearts. Not always as simple as it sounds.
      Despite the ocean between us – the wind is also howling here.

      • Reply Maria Dernikos October 28, 2013 at 5:55 am

        The trouble is when we lose our mind to follow our hearts it might us happy but you will find it makes everyone else unhappy and uneasy – and then the control is gone!!

  • Reply Green Door Hospitality October 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Amazing post, Lindy!! Truly, I have no words. You’ve said them all. 🙂
    P.S. The bread looks awesome!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen October 28, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Kenley – you’re a darling. I know I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it because it’s SO true. xo

  • Reply apuginthekitchen October 28, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I love reading your posts. Wonderful stories intertwined with great recipes. I had the honor of hearing Mr. Waters in Houston many years ago. I have been smitten with the blues for as long as I can remember and seeing him in person is something I will never forget. Love soda bread, your loaf looks wonderful.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen October 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Suzanne – thank you so much. How fabulous to see Muddy Waters – such a remarkable man. When he told his life story on radio, I had tears running down my face. xo

  • Reply Kendra Pople-Easton October 28, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    This will definitely be a must try for me my friend. Superbly written, as always. Hope to see you soon. Xxxxoooo

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen October 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      Kendra – darling -thank you. I would love to see you. Come and have lunch at my place. xoxoxoxo

  • Reply Tonette Joyce November 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    “if you haven’t known the blues, just keep livin’…haven’t known great joy, just keep livin'”…gosh,I needed that!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen November 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      I think we all need that from time to time Tonette. I guess that’s life! xo

  • Reply Karen November 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Love your post and love your bread. I think I would enjoy your savory version.

  • Reply kathryningrid November 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Gorgeous meditation *plus* a delicious sounding recipe. Outstanding! I’ll have to see if I can find the interview online somewhere–sounds lovely, too. Thanks for sharing it all!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen November 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      Hello Kathryn – so interesting that it never even occurred to me to try to find that Muddy Waters interview online. But of course – it must be on the CBC somewhere. Now I’m going to go try and find it myself. Thank you for the lovely comment – and for finding me. Lindy

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