I get worried about not riding my bike, too. When I am home, pancakes and riding to the Cohoes Falls are my routine. Winter will interrupt the ride part, but I’ve got some time left with this pattern.
What is it about travel that makes worry happen? It’s not like everything is perfect at home. But gearing up to leave makes me whir a little with what ifs.
Six days minus pancakes and bikes seemed like it would be a long long time. I would starve, and also, not be able to think. Biking helps with thinking, it really does.
But once I got to Seattle, I was pleasantly surprised. I ate flour things that were not pancakes. Lots of great bread and butter. Lots of yogurt. I did get pretty hungry, but that happens here, too.
I ate up the landscape. The glitzy city of Seattle, so in love with itself and its coffee and cupcake shops. Looking at the ribbon of mountains ringing Puget Sound, I remembered a whole other life. I lived in Seattle for 9 years. The Olympics never looked real, but this is where I found my griddle.
I went this time to dive deeper into grains. The Seattle Chefs Collaborative put on a grains event, showing off grains to their community. The little farro cakes – savory with goat cheese dollops – killed me.
The Kneading Conference West took place in Mount Vernon, at the Washington State University Station. I was one of 300 people ready to share a big love of grains. I didn’t meet anyone with the pancake thing. The bakers are mostly into bread. Sonoko Sakai taught a great soba noodle class. Naomi Duguid and Dawn Woodward taught classes in crackers and flatbreads. And there was a lot of great thinking to hear about regional grain projects, and the state of modern wheat in our bellies.
I left totally nourished, if pancake famished.
I was surprised by how much I still liked being alive without pancakes and bike rides. Everything was a little less loud without the things I love. My devotions amplify the rest of my experiences, but at the conference I got to pay attention to the devotions of others. Not a bad trade.
Yesterday, I made pancakes with whole wheat pastry flour and malted wheat and blueberries. I rode my red raggedy bike to the falls and I loved the way the clouds ringed the sky – so much more believable than the Olympic Mountains.
Saturday I will teach a pancake workshop in the Skills Tent at the Homegrown Village at Farmaid. Farmer Thor Oechsner will help me tell the story of flour from field to griddle. I will be making malted wheat pancakes and giving a taste of my pancake fueled life. If you want to catch the great disease of pancakes, come along.