Monday, January 13, 2014

Flour Power

Randy was gone several days last week. And when he came home, he brought flour.

Yep, flour - not flowers! That's what happens when you're married to a farmer.

Randy completed a three-day flour milling short course for state wheat commissioners at the International Grains Program at Kansas State University. He even got a diploma.
Randy is 3rd from the left on the back row.
And he brought home 50 pounds of flour.

If you know me, you know I like to bake. But 50 pounds of flour is a lot - even for me.
I may buy Stafford County Flour Mill's Hudson Cream Flour in a 10-pound bag if I'm going to be doing a lot of baking for the church bazaar or for the holidays. But I sure don't buy five of them at a time - or lug home a 50-pound bag. It's a storage dilemma.
Besides the flour, he also brought home a small bag of cookies they baked in Shellenberger Hall on K-State's campus. K-State is the only school in the U.S. that offers a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Bakery Science and Management.

The recipe they followed looked a little different than the ones I use. Though I sometimes will triple a basic cookie recipe and then divide it to make five or six different cookie varieties, the bulk recipe makes my home attempts look paltry. The huge Hobart mixers in the K-State bakery make my KitchenAide look like a mini-Me wanna-be.
While I am a Hudson Cream Flour "snob" and use it for all my baking, the flour Randy brought home was made from K-State's new wheat variety, 1863. (It was named 1863 as a nod to K-State's 150th birthday last year.) We planted 50 acres of 1863 this past fall and will harvest it for the first time on the County Line this summer.
Randy and the other short-course students milled the wheat at the Hal Ross Flour Mill on K-State's campus. For more than a hundred years, Kansas State University has provided the world with expertise in flour milling. In 1905, J.T. Willard set up a small mill in the corner of a chemistry laboratory, and from that small beginning, K-State has developed a program that offers the only four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Milling Science and Management.

Now that Randy's K-State cookies are gone, I guess I need to get that bag open and start baking.

Mark Fowler, who taught the class, told them there is no such thing as "bad flour." There's just flour for different purposes.

That's music to a Kansas wheat farmer's ears after a few days with his nose to the grindstone (so to speak).

And now for my postscript: I teased Randy about bringing me "flour" instead of "flowers." I hummed a few bars of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" ala Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. When he went to Hutchinson to watch our niece, Amanda, cheer at the Hutchinson Community College basketball game, he came home with a bouquet of flowers. 
Now I feel really badly. (And, in my defense, I've told him repeatedly in our nearly 33 years of marriage that flowers aren't necessary and that I don't "need" them to know he loves me.)

But he brought them anyway. And I must admit, they are beautiful. But so is that 50-pound bag of flour because it represents how much he cares about learning and giving back by helping to promote a crop that's so important to us and our livelihood.

He's a keeper, for sure!


  1. I'm a Hudson Cream Flour snob too and I live in the Kansas City area. Just my small way of supporting Stafford County. Mary Jane Hawver McEntire

    1. It really is the best. I had to take a photo of it when I found it in my son's Morehead, KY, grocery store!

  2. 50 lbs?! That oughta last a few days! ha! :)
    Good luck with your calving too.

    1. For sure! I'm going to share with my family (and I may have to find some friends to take some, too!)