Dear Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to the sunshine-y July 2023 issue of Betterbaking.com!
As I write this, the rain is gently drizzling outside my kitchen window. Thatâ€™s a more-than-welcome sound for us here in Quebec where the forest fires burn wildly, spreading smoke to parts near and far, especially to my friends south of the border. Yes, #blameCanada. Iâ€™m publicly sending my thank-you to the fire-fighting teams from France, the USA, Australia, the United States, Mexico, New Zealand, France, Spain and Portugal who have all flown in to help.
The smoggy fog notwithstanding, and the modest assist it brings to the firemenâ€™s efforts, I personally find that the rain calms me down; it gentles me. In fact, thereâ€™s even a label for this; turns out Iâ€™m a pluviophile: a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days. In summer, most people want sun/sun/sun all the time. If itÂ doesÂ rain, people complain about the dreary days and rain-outs of yoga (and tango) in the park, or picnics that have to be cancelled or (and I can certainly empathize with this) the wet and soggy, outdoor weddings. So Iâ€™ve learned stay quiet at these times because to be honest, some balmy air and some dewy drops make me happy. I welcome a summery shower in among the host of bright, yellow days; itâ€™s a relief. Constant sunshine for me is like a planet without shade. I feel a pressured to make hay or â€˜enjoy the weatherâ€™. It must have to do with being a baker; Iâ€™ve spent so much time in my life near a hot oven that I canâ€™t abide extra heat. When the wetter days visit, I donâ€™t have to pretend I love being in the sun plus I can bake without anyone saying: how can you bake on such a hot day? Donâ€™t you want to be outside? Ah no, not really, maybe after sunset. The July rain in particular is a welcome mat. It also reminds me of when I began this website.
In those days, I was a newly single parent and summer meant schoolâ€™s out and my familyâ€™s schedule changed drastically as many of you can also attest. In summer, a mother-writer-working-at-home alone with three sons is a lion tamer-cum-camp-counsellor-cum-portable first aid kit. Our house was overun with my boys and their friends, baseball practise, tons of baking, cookbook writing, swimming at the local pool and Block Buster! Yes because...rain meant no outdoor backyard hose activities or baseball, the former ending with water being sprayed in the house and/or a fight and the latter (at least once a summer) resulting in breaking our neighbourâ€™s windows. However long the rented DVD and rain provided, the boys were calm and I could readÂ Pride and PrejudiceÂ with a cup of coffee or just stare at the verdant glory of my backyard outside my window. Then of course there'd be a rainbow, brilliant and hopeful, then more sun and the next thing I knew: water hose and sprinkler play, yelling, fighting and the sound of a broken window and a lost baseball.
But for those of you whoÂ areÂ wishing for a sunny Canada Day or July 4th and every other day of summer, my hopes are with you. And for all of us who love to bake, rain or shine, please enjoy this monthâ€™s recipes.
Happy summery weekends ahead. May it rain allÂ nightÂ long( to put out those fires and water the garden) but be sunny allÂ day. And if you need me, Iâ€™ll be inside....hiding (and nibbling on Argentinian Pizza).
Two for One Subscriptions?
One more quiet announcement - I am doing the Christmas in July Betterbaking.,com two years for one deal for the month of July (otherwise it will be in December). If you'd like two years for the one-year price, just sign up the usual way and I will adjust your account promptly!
Sweet times from my kitchen to yours,
Author and Master Baker