A Note from Marcy June 2024

A Note from Marcy June 2024

A Note from Marcy June 2024

Dear Fellow Bakers and Friends,

Welcome to the June 2024 issue of Betterbaking.com. This is a very unique issue for me because big surprise: about a week ago my oven literally exploded! Consequently testing new recipes for this issue abruptly ended in ah, a flash. So what happened? In a nutshell as I was taking out the recycling bag and a (used/cleaned) Bath and Body Works candle jar (inside the bag) barely grazed the oven door (as best as I can figure) as I went past and kaboom! The oven door imploded with such noise, force and a cascade of diamonds of glass that for a minute I honestly didn’t know what happened.  I froze like an electrified cat. Fortunately, I was unharmed but for a few seconds, I just stood like a status rising out of the shards of glass around my (On Cloud-covered) feet.

As luck would have it, it turns out the glass door is not replaceable. For starters, the oven is discontinued and replacing the glass, even if it were available would be the part plus a service call that would be far higher a cost than replacing the old oven with something similar. So I am shopping for a new range which is sheer joy. The wire racks in the oven looked more like a hammock after all the sourdoughs I baked. Although I’m happy to being getting a better oven this will take a bit of time. Thank goodness it’s BBQ season. I honestly think this even is a sign from (fill in the blank as you wish; I’m going with the gods of Serendipity of Baking) since I’ve long wanted a range, preferably something commercially looking that would do my sourdough breads more justice for about a decade. (When I moved to my current house, I had to say goodbye to my Garland range).

Still,  I did manage to get some special recipes in before the occurrence. As this is convocation month (one of my own sons is in the 2024 batch) and Father’s Day, I’m offering some treats that fit the season as well as a this little vignette that you might find entertaining.

My Dinner with Jacques Pepins

Years ago when I was just a beginning my food writing career I started getting somewhat regular freelance assignments with a local print media outlet. It was an established and largely read, daily newsy sort of thing that had a Wednesday food section as well as some special food features on the weekends. The food department was managed by a long-standing food editor was also the main contributor (aside from a restaurant critic)and I would sneak in-between with a unique assignment a couple of times a month, at least for a few years. To say I was unwelcome would be an understatement. I didn’t work in their offices but came downtown with my typed up (!) assignments to file my stories. Sometimes I did a food shoot for my recipes in their photography studio. At those times, the resident food writer would bristle with our limited interactions and things felt definitely frosty. There was gossip too that I chose to ignore that made me suspect my days there were measured due to the office politics at hand.
One day, I read that famed celebrity chef Jacques Pepins, then with PBS, was doing a meet-and-greet in Montreal. A big admirer and PBS watcher, I was desperate to meet him! I called the PBS PR person who led me to the program director and I asked her for a press pass to the event. She said it ‘was possible’ but she wanted to first check my credentials. “Would it be ok to call someone in charge, she asked, where I worked to cross check things since there were very few passes.  This was also in a time before LinkedIn et al. I gave her the food editor’s contact at the magazine and waited to hear back.

A few days later the PBS woman called me. She said:  we have a special surprise for you! You and your (then) husband are invited to a special dinner out in an exclusive restaurant in Montreal with the whole PBS executive team (producer, manager, sales folks) and Jacques himself! I was blown away. This was incredible! Why, how? The PBS woman said, when I called your colleague she said, “Yes, I know Marcy Goldman and she’s no journalist. She’s simply a freelancer with some recipes’ (or something similar which essentially was about my lack of credentials. The PBS woman then added, ‘I figured, anyone who raises that much rancour from someone else, let alone a colleague in a call from a stranger about credentials seems a little unkind and unfair. So I thought - why not give “Marcy’ a real and probably deserved treat? What is even more fun than just a meet and greet along with everyone else?  It would be a private audience, just seven of us including Jacques himself at a special dinner with Jacques at an exclusive restaurant I can’t remember the name of but it was pretty toney.

The dinner was sublime. Jacques Pepins then and now is nothing but a Renaissance man. He regaled us with stories, including his first job at McDonalds when he came to America, his life in France, and his feelings about food and writing cookbooks. He holds a degree in Philosophy, as well as History in addition to his chef’s classic training and entire career of being a chef, cookbook author, food celebrity/spokesman among other things. I brought him a special rolling pin (I had my rolling pins made in those days) and a huge bag of Canadian bread flour. It never occurred to me someone wouldn’t want to schlep fifteen pounds of flour on a plane. It was an extraordinary evening and I felt chuffed with luck and brushing by someone so inspirational.

It’s now years later and I have a catalogue of my own cookbooks and I did become a professional journalist and built a career of my own in food far past the periodical I wrote for. I was fated for other things. That food editor is still going strong and fortunately our paths rarely cross. Needless to say, my freelance days at the magazine wound down pretty soon after that episode. I don’t think about the competitive angle in all this – it’s late in the day to hold a grudge. Mostly what I take away from this is the absolute kindness and perception of the PBS PR woman. I wish I remembered her name because I would reach out and thank her. It totally elevated my sense of self at a moment I needed it most.  I was in my early thirties and perhaps felt somewhat small or somewhat like a nobody, unacknowledged in my own city (my own country for that matter) and yet here was a total stranger who treated me as a shining star. I got to go the ball that night and I hope, concerning other food writers,  I’ve passed it forward as much as I could ever since.

As for Jacques Pepins, what’s not to admire and love about him? So on this Father’s Day, via my platform as a colleague and betterbaking.com itself, I wish him, a father and grandfather,  a beautiful day with those he holds dear to him. Happy Father’s Day Chef Pepins. And that my friends, is how I made this June 2024 issue of BB a ‘Father’s Day issue’ !

I also dedicate this June 2024 edition of Betterbaking.com it to my own late and dear dad who once told me, when I was fired working at L’Oreal: ‘People who sell perfume are stinky’ among other gems of wisdom. My father wasn’t a chef but he excelled at breakfasts, brewing percolator coffee and loving and comforting his only daughter when the world was a bit harsh. Kinda of miss him.

 Recipes for June 2024

Homemade Butter
10 minutes in your food processor is all it takes!

Homemade Butter

https://betterbaking.com/recipe-items/cast-iron-skillet-pizza-on-the-bbq-grill/


Not just the recipe for the best dough, and the technique to use a cast iron pan and your cast BBQ grill but a bonus: Bottle and Sell It Pizza Sauce recipe included!

Raspberry Crumble Bars

https://betterbaking.com/recipe-items/berry-crumble-bars/

Summery, tangy, sweet goodness in a quickly-made bar.

FREE recipe!!! Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

https://betterbaking.com/free-recipe/

https://betterbaking.com/recipe-items/apple-cider-sour-cream-donuts/
I was saving these for fall but this recipe is not only freshly tested but too good to wait for.

 

 

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