It hadn’t occurred to us that, of course, one of the things that happens on a slow rail trip across China and into Mongolia this time of year is that stuff freezes en route. Which is pretty funny, when one of your things is a snow globe enclosing a photo of your dog, and inside, where the “snow” is, is full of real ice. Fortunately, our various chile sauces, maple syrup (duh) and sherry vinegar are fine, but poor Phil had a leg fall off. The movers were horrified that they’d broken him somehow, but we think the glue gave out in the cold.
We spent this weekend unpacking and trying to put everything away. The plan is to give the landlord’s kitchen stuff and linens back and phase in our own things, which sounds simple, but there’s just. so. much. I did find my bread baking equipment and baked for the first time since August. The sourdough starter — our other pet — travelled here in my suitcase, and I’ve been feeding it, just haven’t baked with it. Someday I’d love to take a class with a real baker and learn how to gauge temperature and hydration properly; being self-taught in the the tropics has not prepared me for the far colder and drier conditions here. To make the whole project riskier, I used an unknown flour that could be pretty much anything. If anyone can read the label and identify it, please let me know. My best guess is that it’s rye or something close: it was very dry and dense while kneading and made a dark loaf. (This is 1/3 mystery flour and 2/3 white.)
Anyway, it’s Sunday night, and all my clothes and personal things are put away. We shored up the bookcases, and Mr. Handy is switching our tv for the landlord’s. Overall? Just like Christmas.
UPDATE: The mystery flour is barley! I look forward to experimenting further…