I'm not a gossipy person. Other peoples' lives interest me, but mainly because I have a curious mind, and as a psychologist, obviously hearing what people have on their mind interests me.
I enjoy a peek into the lives of other folk, overhearing an intimate conversation on the bus, observing group dynamics, and analyzing different social exchanges.
But there are two things I can't stand: People who blabber on relentlessly, ignoring warning signals that their welcome is overstayed, and keep talking without allowing for interruptions or input. And. Rude folks who chatter loudly in public spaces, believing their stories too good to go unheard by the miserable beings that surround them.
Both of these things fall into a category I'll call Obnoxious Banter.
You can find them anywhere, in any corner of the earth. They prey upon the humankind my parents refer to as "suckers." They see signs of "suckers" from the get-go. People who attract lonely and outrageous types alike.
I personally unplug when I meet talky characters. I get put off by Mr. Obnoxious Banter at restaurants who is telling his jokes with a loud har-har-har and a beer in his hand. I get rather agitated when Mrs. Obnoxious Banter blabs on about purple cats, musketeers, MTV in the eighties, and everything in between.
I sure hope I don't show signs of being a "sucker."
Whole wheat oatmeal loaf (no suckers here)
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and Amy Scattergood, via White on Rice Couple
Makes one really fat 9 x 5 loaf
1 cup water
1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1 package (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
1 TBSP honey (use local)
2 TBSP unsulphured baking molasses (not backstrap)
2 ½ cups (350g) whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
2 cups (300g) bread flour
1 cup (120g) rolled oats, plus additional for topping
½ stick (4 TBSP) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
Scant TBSP fine sea salt
Olive oil for greasing the bowl
In a small saucepan, gently heat water and milk to 115F. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the water, milk, yeast, honey, and molasses; stir to dissolve the yeast. If you aren't sure if your yeast is still good, proof for 5 minutes.
Add the whole wheat and bread flours, oats, melted butter, and salt to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix just until everything is combined and sticky.
Switch to the dough hook and knead dough on low speed for about 6 minutes, until the dough starts climbing the hook and slapping around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is sticking, add more flour in one tablespoon increments until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
I like to finish my dough by hand (this is optional): on a lightly floured work surface, knead dough for about a minute, or until it comes together and is no longer tacky. Place a small amount of olive oil into a bowl (stand mixer bowl or other). Form dough into a ball and roll ball in oil to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rest about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Shape the loaf by shaping the dough into a rectangle and "degassing" by getting out all the air holes with your hands. Fold into a letter shape with the outside sections meeting in the middle section. Pinch the seam and sides, flip upside down, and place into the loaf pan. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap (you might want to grease it), and let rise another 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it rises just above the sides of the pan.
While the dough is on its second rise, preheat oven to 400F with rack in the center of the oven.
Sprinkle loaf with oats and bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. The bread should be a deep brown color, register 180F inside on the thermometer, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool fully on a wire rack.