Monthly Archives: January 2010

A few last looks

It’s been a rough week, tying up many loose ends as we prepare to relocate to Oakland. By rough, I mean emotional, bittersweet, and a little difficult for me as Petaluma has been my home during a very formative, happy, healing while. I see the excitement in new challenges and new places and I am looking forward to it. That being said, a few looks back on the lovely time I have spent in Point Reyes baking.

My commute (not bad, eh?)

Post-storm green

pastoral breaths

the bakery

first sunny day in a week

the man of the house

Right after I took this picture of the rooster (named Michael Jackson-his arrival was timely) he proceeded to jump off the gate and fly at my head which really cleared up any weepy nostalgia I was feeling right then.

We move tomorrow. I barely slept last night, and not for the usual pre-move reasons. I wasn’t trying to arrange furniture in my head, or thinking of all the bills I hadn’t transferred to the new place. I was stuck in this mental rut, obsessed with the phrase “comfort food”. I almost got out of bed (should have, really) and tried to write a little something. All that is left of the thought today is the feeling that food we describe in that way is so based in the home. We rarely think of grilling or street food in that way. It is usually cooking that warms the home, physically and emotionally. Your oven is going, or that pot of soup has simmered all day. Home is where we cook together, and once we have our first meal in our new house, I think my nostalgia may take a back seat to the current memories being formed in front of me right at that moment. That sounds comforting.

ps. Ryan has been curing a fresh ham all week, so maybe that will be our first big meal in Oakland. Mmm…

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Would you like a face mask?

I know what I do everyday isn’t most people’s idea of a good time, but there are always people out there who think they would love nothing more than to rise at 1 am, don a face mask (white lung is a serious condition, people) and stick their head in a 600 degree oven (in a nice way). This makes me smile. I got into baking before I knew what I would be up to. So, every once in a while (read: once a week) someone calls us at the bakery and has read all about bread and wants to see what goes on behind the little red door. Some have no experience, some used to bake when they were younger, and are looking for a career change or a business plan. In a wierd way, I think they want to be inspired. They want to see something incredible, and that feels nice. We work hard, and I don’t mind saying a little flattery goes a long way. We can freak people out about how hard it is, or we can goad someone into a career that will change their sleep pattern and muscle distribution.

That being said, a woman came into the bakery a few months ago, wanting to watch us bake and such. She was hoping to get advice on starting her own bread business. I think she got a little more reality than she was hoping for. Since she arrived at 11 am, we were already either almost done with our day (Celine), or halfway finished with a grueling Saturday shaping shift (me). It was very nice to have someone watch with awe and say such nice things about us though, and I thought it would be fun for you all to see her post on her moment in the bakery.

A Hungry Girl

p.s. I am not an assistant. But hey…what can you do? 🙂

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Self-Indulgent Recap

about one year ago....

Lately, I have been treading water in holiday-land. You know, wading through lists, last-minute runnings about, and in general, just rushing my face off. I will now breathe.  Whew.

Hi. Welcome back. I feel better. I seriously did take a deep breath just then.

This past year…

It leaves me winded. What a complete suprise, a delight, the most incredible year yet. I know when I say this it sounds superfluous, fluffy, mindless. A lot of sadness encircled our world this last year too, but for the first year in a very long time, I felt that I was in the right place, at the right time, where I should be. Time and love aligned for me, and I was brought to a stellar job where I learned that I was actually capable of jumping head first into something, and with multitudes of work, becoming quite proficient at that skill. Maybe it’s just getting older or maybe it really is finding a little divot, settling into it, and discovering it was meant for you in the first place. So, as cliche as it may be, I wanted to make a little list.  Things that suprised me this year, that brought me joy, showed me a path, or otherwise made me feel warm, safe and in the right place….

~Being adopted into a business, a family really, that would be patient, endlessly challenging, better than any culinary school (and way more messy), and ultimately show me who I am and what I am made of. I think I forgot I had a work ethic until this job. Baking has reminded me that a long time ago, I was proud of how hard I could push myself. I have become that girl again.  Thank you Celine. You have educated me and I will never forget it. Thank you for my giant muscles too. That should scare off any pushy bakers at my new job.

~Somewhere Fate is having a good guffaw, because this job, so secluded, remote and really quite anti-social (bakers are a sullen bunch) plopped me down right in front of my love. Just nudged me along till I found myself standing right in front of him, asking for bacon. Isn’t that how all good love stories begin?

~Moving out of San Francisco and allowing my life to slow to a speed which I could handle was one of the best choices I had made in a long time. Petaluma has been the warm blanket I needed to heal all the little blows the past few years had dealt me. This pastoral, idyllic little town brought me a house, women friends (sorely missing over the past few years), a bicycle, and a place I could walk all over and never lose sight of those green, green hills.

~Working in the food industry is a more like a real family than a fantasy one. There are mean big brothers, sweet and generous old aunties,  cool, trendy younger cousins and mothers you can always count on. Finding your role in this community is as valuable as when you find your own little niche in your family at home. You think, Oh, this is who I am, this is what I bring to the table.

I find myself trying to be the glue that makes everyone stick together. I was throwing fits all holiday long, just trying to get all the people I love in the same room. Bribing people with booze, promising baked goods, shelling out money for gas, whatever it took so that I would have a big family holiday.

But I don’t have a big family. I have these few really profoundly important people around me, and I suddenly figured it out.  Family is about effort and connection, and these are things I think I can do well. As I get older, reminding people to come together, not because you have to, but because we must, will be in my mind every year.  The meals we share during this time of year are our most memorable, and not because of those insane scalloped potatoes or the delectable ham, or that great pinot. These are things I love, granted, but to see the candlelight on my grandfather’s face as we toasted to what was just a stellar year…..this is worth any amount of running about, driving in traffic or list-making.

Cheers.

Happy New Year

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