Krista Ball from Alberta, Canada, grew up with a bread-making mother. Her mom is too old now to bake the bread herself, and Krista has been trying for years to make it herself — without success. She finally decided to call her mother to figure out what she was doing wrong, but there was one small problem: her mother doesn't use any measurements.
The following conversation is no word of a lie or exaggeration. Context: "Homemade bread" is a thing we all grow up with in Newfoundland & it's not like any other bread I've had. So us kids grown up & want to make it.— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Me: How do I make a small batch of bread?— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Mom: Like 6 loaves?
Me: Less, but sure. 6.
Mom: You needs a bag of flour.
Me: Which one?
Mom: The big bag. Not the big, big bag. But the big one. You don't want the small one. I don't know what you got up there in that place
(note: "up there in that place" = Alberta)— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Me: Do I use the whole bag?
Mom: Not unless you want to make a big batch.
Me: Okay then. Some of the bag of flour. What else?
Mom: You needs a big bread pan.
Me: I got that.
Mom: You needs a big one.
Mom: you needs more than double the sugar than the salt.— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Me: How much?
Mom: Just pour it in your hand and then double the sugar and then a bit.
Me: How much of your hand?
Mom: Just in your hand maid.
Me: Ok, salt, double sugar.
Mom: A bit more than double
Me: Yeast?— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Mom: You needs a pack.
Me: One pack?
Mom: one three pack, yes.
Me: okay, so 3 packs?
Mom: You don't want to put in that much yeast!
Me: ... okay. What else?
Mom: You gotsta heat up the milk. I puts in 6 mugs.
Mom: The glass mug Dad likes.
Me: ...I know which one you mean. Okay, 6 mugs.— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Mom: If you can't afford all milk, put in some water, but it's not as good.
Me: Ok, just milk.
Mom: With some water.
Me: But you said not to put in water.
Mom: You needs water for the yeast.
Me: okay, so water for the yeast
Mom: Then you makes a well, pours it all in with the melted butter...— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Me: there's butter?
Mom: It's melted.
Me: how much?
Mom: Just a bit.
Me: How much is that?
Mom: A few spoonfuls.
Me: ok. Then you mix it all right?
(explains her personal feelings on double raising bread, which apparently is something people fight over)— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Me: What do you bake it on?
Mom: You puts in the pans, maid.
Me: I mean, temperature.
Mom: Not too hot.
Mom: That's too hot!
Me: Okay, so 350?
Mom: I guess. Yes.
Me: How long?— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
Mom: Until it's baked.
Me: How long does that take?
Mom: Depends on how full the oven is. Then you takes it out, rubs butter all over it, and lets it cool. It's not hard.
Me: ... this is like building a nuclear bomb.
(note that this is all done while shouting because she can't hear me over the phone and refuses to turn down the TV)— Krista D. Ball (@kristadb1) November 24, 2017
OMG. Well, no wonder she could never recreate the recipe.
This is beautiful. I have recipes written down by my mother (from Cape Breton) that say 'add a goodly amount' or 'just a titch' or something, and then 'schlop it all around' and 'cook til done.'— Amy Spurway (@AmyLSpurway) November 25, 2017
Great story! :-)— Likely Jan Lukas (@likelyjanlukas) November 24, 2017
My grandmother's recipies specify a "fast" or "slow" oven, referring to the intensity of the fire in the woodstove (rather than a temperature).
My mother-in-law always said her recipes were “shittin’ geese”. Turns out that’s Yiddish for “pour and throw” or something like that. And she’d say, you just have to just make sure it looks and feels right. No definition of “right” ever given.— Melissa Gold (@MelissaGold5) November 25, 2017
My mother always tells me to use "a knob of butter the size of an egg". Still haven't got it right.— Chris White (@ChrisWh01534176) November 24, 2017
There’s only one thing to do: go to Newfoundland and bribe her how ever you can to let you video tape her. It’s the only way.— Peggy S. Mitchell (@pegmit) November 26, 2017
It’s true. I tried to write down my grandmother’s biscuit recipe, but she measured in her hand and wouldn’t slow down for me to write it down. Videotaping is a great idea!— Carol duBois (@theCdB) November 27, 2017
Krista. Here's the recipe:— Eric Morse (@eriq49) November 24, 2017
1 go home
2 cajole Ma into doing it
3 take careful notes.
OMG, I literally cried laughing reading this. Listen love, I had similar problems getting one out of my grandmother. This is what I cobbled together, take this one and adjust till it tastes similar to your moms... best I could do! pic.twitter.com/WSLibPoOPC— MA Delaney (@devotremonde) November 26, 2017
Isn't Twitter an incredible thing when it wants to be? Now, all we wanna do is taste test Krista's next batch o' bread.