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A Note From Marcy

A Passion for Home Baking,
The Baker's Batch of New Recipes

July August 2003 Summer Issue

Hello Fellow Bakers and Friends of BetterBaking.Com

The other day I was in the test kitchen creating a number of things for you to enjoy in this new issue of BetterBaking.Com. I began in the test kitchen by prepping for some yeast recipes, some fillings, and melting the chocolate for the Chocolate Dome Cookies to be found in the Test Kitchen Column. It was quiet, that mid afternoon; my younger two sons are at camp and I was looking forward to a window of time to catch up on my baking.

I began rolling out Bagel Dough Pizzas and some Mango Oatmeal Bars sat cooling on the counter. Sunlight streamed into my kitchen and played a dance of light on my butcher-block counter, now strewn with flour and rolling pins. I turned on the radio and bless CBC, (it is one thing Canada does so well), there was the live In Concert show just beginning - a special edition for Canada Day.

As the Bagel Dough Pizzas hit the oven, the strains of Gustuv Holst's St. Paul's Suite for Girls floated into the air. Gorgeous. Immediately,  I was reminded of my summers at Vermont Music Camp, where I was a clarinettist. I vividly recalled the sounds of music (well, now, that is fitting!) in the Vermont Green Mountains, as well as friends (I am still in touch with) , good times, and great conductors. Years later, my eldest son, also attended a music camp, very similar to my beloved Vermont camp and so the tradition continues. Not surprisingly, summer for me, with music camp memories and traditions, not to mention things like the Montreal Jazz Fest (now going on), Saratoga, Tanglewood and the Berkshires venues, et al, is synonymous with music.  Go on a hunt for summer sun, beach, and easy times, and music, in its various forms, is usually close behind.

At any rate, as I settled into more test baking, luxuriating in the beautiful music, the scents and the mood of the moment, I began to hear the strains of a tenor saxophone, not too far off (my basement in fact!). It was my son Jonathan, aspiring jazz musician and composer (when he is not a baseball catcher par excellence), warming up. The tenor sax made its growlish, snorting sounds, as its musician went up the two, three registers, in tandem with the European concert orchestra, playing live on the radio. For about twenty minutes, unbeknownst to them, both the musicians of the CBC live performance concert orchestra and this Montreal tenor sax soloist chez moi, had a musical duel. Holst was followed by Holiday For Trumpets and in the basement, on this end, came my son's spunky scattin' around with a Michael Brecker track. Then it was The Pines of Rome and from downstairs, the response was Birdland. Then came the Overture from the War of 1812 and battling back, from the downstairs jazz hut, was some jamming to Weather Report. Back and forth it went - radio musicians and 'house' musician' - making me literally stop in my tracks (and almost burn the pizzas!) to listen. I was caught in the crossfire of the notes, styles, musicianship - but all live. In one instance of music role reversal, the resident saxophone soloist played Pachebel's  Canon in D while the symphony orchestra attempted KC and the Sunshine Band's Get Down Tonight (causing said saxophonist to pause a minute and bellow up if I had a bar mitzvah band recording on - which, admittedly, is what a symphony orchestra sounds like when it plays hits from the 80's).

It should have, could have,  sounded cacophonic but it was beautiful. I smiled and kneaded some more dough.  It was a serenade for a baker - an impromptu, unexpected turn of 'happystance'. Doesn't get much better than that. I mean, you try baking in the sunlight, with live music, coming out from every crevice and see if you don't just about levitate with sheer joy of it. On a sunny day, when all is right with my world, with warm, fresh baking on my counters, and the sound of music alive and vibrant, you would be hard put to find a better life than the one I have; let alone, a better job. A few days later, CBC presented a musical salute in honour of July 4th - and again, I enjoyed baking - but this time to the strains of Aaron Copeland, and everything the Boston Pops had to offer on such an occasion.

Right-o. Back to the matters at hand. Business matters first: Amazon.com now stocks my BetterBaking.com cookbook. Puleeeez order if you want this first addition - they are about 80% sold through at this point, in only 6 months.

I am already contemplating a sequel, so this would be a good time to get the first edition on the first book.

As for recipes this month, it is a mixed bag of chocolate decadence in Decadent Double Chocolate Dome Cookies, luscious blueberry pies, a sumptuous , and some cross border baking in honour of our two national holidays. For those around the world, enjoy the fruits of our national baking identities J  Summer should be a quiet time in the kitchen and there is the heat to contend with. On the other hand,  appetites for cookies do not dwindle, nor does the beckoning bounty from the markets. Then of course, there are baseball, swim, and soccer teams to cater to. So, a little baking is always in order. Take a hint from my own test kitchen however: bake early in the day!

We should be back with another recipe or two before summer ends.  In September, I will be back in full force with more recipes and baker's thoughts, as well as some updates on neat new products (razor sharp bread knives, retro custom aprons, and a special French butter dish by our friends at Sloss Pottery in Ohio).

For now, take it easy, and enjoy the weather and the treats.

(If you listen to www.cbc.ca via the internet, you can check their site to see current concert and program listings. Tom Allen of Music and Company, and Shelley Soames, of Take Five host two of my favorite programs)

Wishing you sweet times in the kitchen and sweeter times in life,

Marcy

Marcy Goldman
Head Baker, Cookbook Author, Writer
Betterbaking.com/Baker Boulanger
Online Magazine for Bakers est. 1997-2003

A Passion for Home Baking,
The Baker's Batch of New Recipes


Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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