Flour in the time of COVID-19

When your husband Gets You and brings you flours

Amish flour

I guess this is related to Sourdough in the Time of COVID-19. Yeast has been hard to find and so has flour. I had thought there was not a yeast problem in Milwaukee but I was wrong! It is not on the shelves! And flour is on the shelves, but purchases are limited.

This really wasn’t an issue for me, as I keep huge inventories of everything. I learned at the knee of my mother, who is prepared for the Apocalypse.

Actually, as she explains it, you never knew, living on military bases abroad, what might be available when at the commissary, so it was a good idea to stay stocked up with essentials.

I suppose also, living in western Europe during the Cold War and in the Panama Canal Zone during the treaty negotiations, there were also other supply chain disruption concerns, but I was a kid and we didn’t have the internet back then, so who knew about these things? My dad did, but I sure didn’t.

So I have a jar of yeast in the freezer, which meant that I was able to send my mom a few tablespoons of it for Mothers Day, because it is absolutely unavailable in Colorado right now.

And I have a bunch of flour in the basement, but

  • I had run out of my fun specialty flours
  • I am unemployed
  • I am stuck at home
  • I am bored
  • I have the sourdough starter that Bonus Daughter #1 sent to me
  • I finally got Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole from the library

All of this means I have time and inclination to experiment with bread.

And here the stores either don’t have the flour I want or they have it and I can’t buy it.

Mr T and I came up with a solution.

He had to go up north to pick up injection molded frames from my cousin’s shop (for the face shields project where we are volunteering), which meant he was going into Amish country, which meant he would be going by the Amish shop where my grandmother always shopped.

And this is where it gets weird because I have just discovered that not everyone knows what the Amish store is.

I thought the Amish store was just part of the background.

And then I realized it’s just part of my background.

My mom and dad are from northern Wisconsin. My mom grew up on a dairy farm. My grandfather would drive his Amish friends places. When we lived in Spain, we came back to the States for a whole summer and stayed on the farm. My grandfather rented a pony from the Amish for my brother and sister and me to ride.

The kittens were part of the farm. My grandfather did not have to import them.

There are highway signs warning of horse and buggies and in the parking lot at KMart, you see horses and buggies.

So – part of the background.

And the Amish store is – you know – the Amish store. They sell a lot of bulk items there, a lot of unbranded goods.

The prices are FABULOUS.

And you can get stuff, because being Amish, they don’t sell online.

Oh sure those Ohio Amish people sell online, or some of them do, but not the Wisconsin Amish people.

My #1 Bonus Daughter – let’s call her Kelly – sent me the sourdough starter. But she can’t find all the flours she wants, so I ordered some for her from a sort-of Amish store in Ohio. I wanted to send her some from Wisconsin but I couldn’t find any in Wisconsin that are online.

I saw a week ago Thursday that the box had been delivered but – I didn’t hear anything from her.

Kelly is lovely. She has wonderful manners. She is thoughtful and considerate and we had just spoken a few days before about baking bread. She had lamented (again) that she had no rye flour and I had smiled mysteriously.

So it was weird that UPS tracking showed the box had been delivered and yet there had been no word from Kelly.

On Sunday, I finally messaged her.

Me: Kelly, did you get the flour yet?

Kelly: Flour?

Me: I sent a bunch of different kinds of flours to you, including rye. I mean, I ordered it online and had it shipped to you 🙂

Kelly: Aww how sweet! I don’t see anything yet.

Me: Hmm. UPS said it was delivered on Thursday night. They say they left it at the front door 😞

Kelly: Oh no! Damn! That said there have been thefts but ups is the most reliable shipper because they always drop at my door

Me: They said they left it by the front door! SHIT!

Kelly: Argh not cool!

I go to the UPS site and pound out a very annoyed email.

Mr T says You don’t need to talk to UPS you need to email the vendor they’re the ones who matter.

I tell him to shut up I know what I’m doing Lord have mercy that man annoys me sometimes

But then I email the vendor anyhow. I am very very polite because I know everything is crazy and they are busy.

And actually, I was polite to UPS. But I was annoyed. Politely annoyed.

Ten minutes later, Kelly writes again.

Kelly: I DID get beef jerky from a mysterious person. The note said “Happy Birthday Kaley.” From Walnut Creek Cheese in Walnut Creek Ohio.

Me: WHAT? That’s the vendor, but that’s not what I ordered. When did it arrive?

Kelly: Ok we were scratching our heads wondering… whose this mysterious sender? I don’t like beef jerky thaaat much (2lbs). It DID arrive on Thursday.

Me: And somewhere, Kaley is wondering who Texan In Exile is and why I am sending her flour.

Kelly: Meanwhile we’re thinking, “who the Hell misspells my name Kaley when the shipping label has it right and thinks I’m a jerky connoisseur?!”

And we figure it out.

Someone had accidentally put the wrong mailing label on the box.

I email the vendor again, this time saying that yes, a box did arrive, but it was Kaley’s jerky, not Kelly’s flour.

They wrote back the next morning and said, Oh no!!!! We’ll get a new box out right away.

And they said to keep the jerky.

So now Kelly has flour.

And Mr T drove up north and he went to an Amish store in person (which, had we known this two weeks ago, we would have just bought flour there for Kelly but oh well) and bought from the list I made after I carefully read through Tartine.

Now I am stocked with buckwheat and dark rye and light rye and pumpernickel and whole wheat and bread flour. I have rye berries and oat berries and wheat berries.

However, in the interim, in my attempt to re-create the Latvian rye bread we got at the Latvian Lutheran Church bake sale in December, I have found a recipe for Lithuanian rye bread, which calls for red rye malt, which I do not have.

So now I have a new quest.






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