Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bread Makes Me Ramble

I still love my niece Jane Austen but she stood me/us up last night. She says she's going to come over next week though. (holds breath) Kids.

There is a little bakery in the next 'hood over that I have come to like very much. I treated myself to a visit there this morning. (I had to take my car in because it has a tire with a slow leak that has become a fast leak. Fortunately, the road hazard warranty was still in effect and the new tire + repairs to another+ rotating and balancing my tires only cost me $26. We love you Costco, oh yes we do-o, we love you Costco and we'll be true). I was, of course, very pleased by this but I still had to kill an hour at Starbucks while the work was done and it was a little boring because I didn't feel like reading and I wrote a blog post but then I didn't like it much and I didn't have my laptop because even though it's supposed to have a wireless watchiwoozle, I can't figure out how to activate it.

An aside: It is possibly a little sad that I found that hour at Starbucks to be something I killed rather than nurtured. I mean, normally, a spare hour in the middle of the day like that should be some sort of respite or something. But I guess my life is so full of respite at the moment that sitting idly in a coffee shop kinda because I had to as opposed to because I wanted to didn't have the same resonance it might have otherwise had.

Point is, after I got my tire situation all tidied away I headed home by way of Columbia City so I could indulge in some baked goodness. I bought a pain de campagne for dinner tonight and a babka for breakfast tomorrow. It made me very perky, partly because I really love the notion of bakeries and there are actually very few in Seattle that are independent and worth the bother. I mean, if you are going to make a special trip to a bakery, it oughta offer crispy, yeasty goodness that can't be found just anywhere or what's the point? And also, slipping into that little bakery is the closest thing to pretending I'm in France that I have within a 5 mile radius and I like pretending I'm in France.

If I lived in Paris I really would go out to do my marketing nearly every day because I could. Here that just isn't possible. The closest thing we have to that sort of opportunity is the Pike Place Market, which I did frequent several times a week when I lived downtown, but now it's not close enough. The co-op down the street doesn't feel remotely European, plus everything there is organic and seems to cost entirely too many dollars a pound no matter what it is. Plus, while they do have a decent selection of artisanal breads, they are produced by a bakery whose market is places like the co-op and no matter how fine the product, there is something about mass produced bread, over a certain quantity, that just ends up missing something.

I am only just discovering aforementioned little bakery. On Sunday I purchased the most perfect apricot danish I've ever had and a roasted potato loaf that was exceedingly delicious with steaks that evening. I've decided that I'm going to become a regular there and sample all their offerings and decide on favorites. Which means, if I'm really going to do that, I will have to begin walking there and back, rather than stopping on my way home, because too many pastries will interfere with my other goal of not becoming a completely rotund person.

Once upon a time I thought about starting my own bakery. It just seemed like a very delightful sort of way to make money. But aside from the fact that bakeries aren't necessarily known for making people wealthy there's also the whole thing of getting up before the crack of dawn to get the loaves formed and fill the pastries and fry the fritters or whatever. And I don't love anything enough for that. But that does remind me that we have discussed building a bread oven in our back garden and it really would be a superfantastic thing to do. You can't get a really decently crispy crust on bread baked in a home oven unless you are willing to fuss with all sorts of stuff like stones and boiling water and I'm usually not. But a nice brick oven in the back that could get all hot and fabulous and that I could bake in even when the weather is too warm for indoor baking? That could be cool.

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Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I'm giving you the blogger word-of-the-day award for "Watchiwoozle," or whatever you said.

You can pick it up at the customer service desk in the lobby, right next to the place where they're selling t-shirts.

July 23, 2008 6:04 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...


July 23, 2008 6:31 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

When I was a kid (here we go) there used to be actual delicatessens.
Not these 'corners of the supermarket' kind,but a single operation that my mom used to go to buy the most deliciuos meats,cheeses,smoked fish,and breads.
She'd make a cold platter of all these various and delightful delicacies,and that would be supper on a hot Summer's eve...I love that stuff.

There were probably bakeries like that as well,but we had Grandma for that,so I just don't know.

Sorry..salami and pumpernickel make me ramble.

July 23, 2008 6:51 PM  
Blogger Mom opined...

I'm drooling. Just the description of good bread adds another pound to my girth - but I think it may be worth it.

July 23, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Right, Sling? There are all too few joints like that left. Although, when you come to Seattle to visit remind me to take you to Bavarian'll be in heaven.

Let's take a walk together. Then we can come back and have some tea and babka. Then we'll go on another walk...

July 24, 2008 6:39 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

Love the Birdie reference.

July 24, 2008 8:03 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

We have a place called The Cakery. They do breakfast pastries and cakes. No breads, though.

July 24, 2008 8:06 AM  
Blogger Eric opined...

When I was a kid we lived in Germany for a couple of years. In a little village on the outskirts of Munich called Unterfeuring. There were no supermarkets ther aside from the PX on base but since we were civilians we could not access the PX. But the village had like sling was saying, a Bakery, A butcher shop, a dairy shop and a green grocer.
Too bad I did not realize how cool that really was until much much later.

July 24, 2008 8:21 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Ann opined...

Ooooh, a bread oven...that sounds wonderful, the way that only the smell of rising yeast and baking bread can. Plus, I bet it would make a humdinger of a pizza oven too, since you could crank up the heat.
Wonder if this bakery in Columbia City will ship? I live too far away now to zip up for a danish.

July 24, 2008 8:41 AM  
Blogger Buck opined...

We should go ahead and open up that bakery together. Except I cannot bake bread. Nope. I'm horrible at it.

Was it a cinnamon babka or a chocolate babka? I'm thinking of the Seinfeld episode.

July 25, 2008 7:03 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Anne, you know how I feel about the Birdie.

KA, I know, right? Actually, The Spouse made pizza a week or so ago on the grill, after having built up a little oven-y thing of bricks. It was stupendous.

Buck, it was cinnamon babka and ever so delicious, too. And yeah, I had the Seinfeld bit going through my head when I bought it.

July 25, 2008 8:04 AM  
Blogger Willym opined...

Okay I'm appreciating my life here a bit more. Both in our neighbourhood and around the office there are bakeries, delis and butcher shops by the score plus the open markets and throughout the city the street stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables. For that last minute bottle of wine or carton of milk we just head to an open bar. Trips to the supermarket are still part of life and will be come August when everything else is closed but only when really necessary.

We're getting so damned spoiled its going to be real tough when we have to come back.

July 26, 2008 5:25 AM  

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