Baking With Kim Ode

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“ you care if I drive up to Brookings for the day?”
“What’s in Brookings?”
“Well, I’d like to spend some time with Kim Ode…a gal I’ve had a crush on for 25 years.”
“Oh, well go ahead then.”
That’s sort of how the conversation went between Linda and me last Friday.
I’m still trying to figure out if her quick approval demonstrates..      A) The strength of a 23 year marriage thats built on love and trust
B)     It would free-up her day to meet with an old boyfriend.
C)    She knows my gallivanting days are long gone and she would just welcome a few hours with me out of the house.
I’m betting its “C.”
The truth is, I hardly know Kim Ode but I’ve been in love with her writing since she worked at the Argus Leader back in the 80’s.
Occasionally, we’d be covering the same story or event and, while the Keloland photographer and I would be scrambling around lugging lights, a tri-pod and camera looking for the best shots, she would be off in a corner quietly observing and taking notes.
When our stories came out, we both had all the facts but hers had all the emotion and insight that I was looking for and missed.
I’ve always considered good writing… like that of Charles Kuralt, Garrison Keillor, Terry Woster and Kim be an art form.Eric Sevareid once said, “ A well chosen word was worth a thousand pictures.”
Anyway, it wasn’t long before Kim’s talents were recognized by the Star Tribune in the Twin Cities. Before long she had her own column which appeared three times a week in that prestigious newspaper.
She had it made: a wonderful job, home, husband and children. What more could this shy Brandon area farm girl want?
To be a bread baker!Yup, after 11 years, she had kind of burned out on the column so she gave it up and began her quest to create the perfect loaf of bread.
No kidding, she actually built, all on her own, a 3000 pound oven..brick by brick.. in her back yard and uses it year round. She gives baking demonstrations (which is why she was in Brookings last week) and has even written a book entitled, “Baking with the St. Paul Bread Club.”
Kim Ode with a few treasures from her outdoor ovenIn the book, Kim Ode’s marvelous way with words takes us right into her mother’s farm kitchen on bread baking day.
Here’s an excerpt:
“There is nothing like a slice of hot, fresh bread, the steam still rising through a sheen of butter. Especially the heel of a loaf, she’d say, and with a child’s breathtaking selfishness, I would agree and eat the whole thing.”
Here’s another excerpt that describes how the act of bread making is good for your soul.
“Kneading, however, is where most of the therapy lies. If there were a study assessing the mental health of people who, on a regular basis, kneaded a shaggy boulder of dough into a bouncy, satiny orb, I’m convinced that they would set a new high standard for even-keeledness.”
To learn more about Kim Ode’s career as a writer and a baker click here.
 "Would anyone care for a freshly baked scone?"  Ahh, yeah!  
Now, I’m starving for something from the oven.

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