This past Christmas I got a bread maker and have been putting it to good use. I figured there was pretty much one way to make bread, but wow, was I wrong. Liquid milk versus dry milk. Sugar versus honey. Adding gluten (yes, adding). It’s dizzying but I like experimenting (and I like eating bread), so it’s fun.
The strangest thing so far, though, was my attempt at rye bread. I used the bread flour-rye flour ratio that the bread maker cookbooks specified, but it didn’t taste like rye bread. It tasted slightly heartier than white bread, but if I’d had it in a blind taste test, I would have said it was white.
I checked the recipe again to make sure I’d gotten the flour proportions right. I had. Caraway seeds caught my eye. I’d purposefully omitted those because my grocery store didn’t have them and, really, what would it matter. They were just there as garnish, right?
A few weeks later, I found caraway seeds and gave the recipe another go. As soon as I opened the jar, I knew where I’d gone wrong. The seeds smelled like rye. It wasn’t the rye flavor I had loved all these years, it was caraway.
Books are like this. I love a good mystery. But is it really the mystery itself that pulls me in? No, it’s the character of the private eye.
I prefer dramas over comedies, but give me a drama without comedy and, eh.
It’s the little things. Spaceships can make it science fiction, just as rye flour makes it rye bread. But it’s usually something else that leaves me remembering the story and wanting more.
What’s the caraway seed in your favorite book or genre?