March 2024 A Note from Marcy

March 2024 A Note from Marcy

March 2024 A Note from Marcy

 Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,

Welcome to the March 2024 issue of and our seventh Leap Year together! This edition is a compelling and unique collision of St. Pat’s and Purim Baking, which of course is a natural mash-up. Ok, that’s not really accurate but I amboasting the best quartet of recipes you can imagine for the occasion.And full disclosure: my uncle Jack was Jewish and from Dublin, Ireland and when he spoke Yiddish with his Irish accent, no one understood a word of what he said.

To be honestI should be focussing on Purim since I’ve promised hamantashen to a few select people on my secret ‘give’ list. I’ve made all my fillings (prune, apricot, cherry-cranberry and doctored-up store-bought poppy seed) and the gorgeous doughs are nestled in the freezer. But I happen to have an appropriated Irish streak in me when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day which is later this month. For one thing, I’m soda bread centric. I never met a soda bread I didn’t like and I’m always inventing a new one although I prefer the gold standard traditional one. Secondly, I’m big believer in luck and March 17th seems to me all about luck as much as it is about soda bread and corned beef. And you don't have to have the luck of the Irish to be lucky!

Luck or Serendipity or Attitude? The luck and traits of positive thinkers

Luck is rather serendipitous which I guess is the whole point of luck. Like the highs and lows and life, luck can come and go unless you just always feel like you’re particularly lucky. Actually, apparently some of us do. Are some people luckier or attitudinally more attuned to luck? Hmmm, let’s just say if you walk with your head up you might see the falling piano versus head-down, finding the lucky penny in the street. Ok, the jury’s out on that one. For a more scientific explanation this feature, by author Maggie Warrell really pinpoints what lucky people have in common. Among other traits, despite bad things happening to them like everyone else, 'lucky' people take risks, act boldly, and see opportunity in difficulty and refuse to define themselves as victims. They take difficulty as a fork in the road to navigating to higher ground or opportunity. (which is not to say they don't feel the down part of negative events like everyone else).

I also believe that rituals of luck are fun as long as you don’t get too superstitious.  If I notice 'signs' or just walk around more aware than not in tandem with a sense of gratitude I tend to be bestowed with positive happenstance more often. If gratitude is the precursor of luck, then it’s an equal opportunity trait you can curate as long as it’s sincere.

I thought of this the other day when I looked at a vintage Renwick leather briefcase I have in my front closet. The briefcase is not quite about luck but it has become to be one of our family’s lucky traditions.

Opportunity Knocks, luck strolls in....

When I was a secretary in the 80’s (who also sold carrot cake to restaurants nearby my McGill University office) I had a very wealthy, demanding, snobbish boss. He was the chair of the department, Industrial Relations, in the Faculty of Management. He treated me as some folks often did a secretary in the 80’s which is to say, dismissive and sexist.  Accordingly, I responded as the balky, impossible person I was. It was a constant low-grade duel of him trying to put me in my place and me trying to rise above or side-step the old-school hierachy. That said, I'm sure he thought of me as equally churlish. Clearly I didn’t want to be a secretary but it was a job that came with the perk of free tuition along with a gorgeous office on an historical campus. Aside from that, it was a good holding pen for me as I decided (floundered) about what to do in life. Six months into the job, I decided if I couldn’t win the power dynamic between my boss and me then I’d settle for irritating him as best I could. I never said I veered towards high ground and to be fair, I was twenty-two years old.

One day I noticed a beautiful leather briefcase in his office. I had a (secret) copywriting job interview the next week and I thought sporting that sort of high end briefcase would make a terrific first impression. I asked my boss about it and he scoffed and said, “Oh my – that’s a Renwick Queen’s briefcase – it’s actually my wife’s. I’m just borrowing it for today. It’s not something you could ever afford; trust me, I know your salary’.

Well, as my eldest son always tells me, to a Taurus (me) everything is a red cape and we are programmed to charge at it. The minute my boss uttered what he did, I was ignited.

At that time, my father owned a men’s wear store and as luck would have it (!!!) the store featured Renwick briefcases because the Renwick Company was both a supplier and friend of my family. I told my dad my dilemma and he promptly ordered an ‘on loan/rush’ briefcase in the larger model (the Kingsway). It was a factory-second (there might have been a thread out of place) so in addition to having a wholesale price tag it was even more of a bargain. At the cost, it was gorgeous, smooth as silk and wafting a leathery fragrance that pronounced its worth. It would do the trick nicely. On Monday morning I positioned the beautiful briefcase on my chair in my office. My boss came to give me some work and behold, there was my prize. “Oh my goodness, he said, ‘You actually did go out and buy one! It’s not even the Queensway model, it’s the bigger one!”  I agreed and said Yes, but you know, if you’re going to buy something once, it’s an investment. Why not get what you want?”


Well, I never got a raise after that and about eight months later I was ‘liberated’ from my McGill job. It could have been the briefcase episode, or the fact that I wouldn’t make and serve coffee or perhaps the keynote speech I typed up and photocopied one hundred times that described my boss as the greatest communist McGill has to offer versus the greatest economist’. It was an honest error. But the satisfaction of that briefcase episode has never left.

And by the way, after being fired I decided I would never, ever be in a position to have someone let me go or be unemployed by someone else’s decision. I immediately started baking at home after losing that job, calling my company Cuisine Carotte (I sold a lot of carrot cakes) and then renamed it Cuisine d’Or (Gold Kitchen) which is still the business name of my Costco membership card (and the same Costco I contribute to). I wholesaled fresh cakes to cafes and restaurants and as you all know, the rest of that story has become my baking journey in progress.

I still have the briefcase and my sons and I treat it as a 'Goldman' good luck symbol. Our family sees it as testimony to the quality of perseverance as well as my father’s love and his watch over us. And yes – it’s also lucky because whenever one of us has a career or job thing in the works the briefcase gets a pat. So, do you make luck or force good fortune or merely enjoy it as it sprouts up in this springy month?

Here’s some added inspirations for this month’s baking and then check out the March Recipe Collection below, including the free recipe for Apricot Hamantashen. Don’t forget to seek out exceptional ingredients for these recipes. Sure there’s luck in baking but it starts with your skills and love as well as discerning beautiful ingredients up to the task.

Extra Recipe Suggestions

Chocolate Marble Hamantashen
For some people, every holiday food has to come in a chocolate variation.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Caramel Brownies 
If you crumple at the idea of cheesecake, caramel and chocolate then this is your destination recipe.

My Favorite Guinness Corned Beef
I created this for my cookbook and then re-did it in a deluxe version for a Costco feature. I don’t even bother finding better/newer corned beef recipes – this is the motherlode of taste.

Guinness Irish Stew with Puff Pastry Cover
Deeply braised stew that is as a tender as brisket topped with puff pastry that hides the goodies.

Warm wishes from my windy Montreal kitchen to yours, wherever you may be, however far, the scent and warmth of baking carries. 

Marcy Goldman
Master Baker, Author, Publisher
Est. 1997

 Bailey’s Irish Cream Tiramisu
When you want seasonal, quick and easy, dramatic and crowd-pleasing, this is the ticket.
It’s also raw-eggs free.

Maple Caramel Pecan Muffins
If it’s early spring the maple sap is running and it’s your cue to head to the kitchen to bake up something with maple syrup. You can’t do better than this recipe with its special trick for extra-high caps.

American Irish Soda Bread
I never met a soda bread I didn’t like but each year I make a new one and it becomes my new favorite until the next creation the following year. This one is the tenderest interior, crusty exterior one ever.

FREE!! Best Ever Apricot Hamantashen
Nothing beats my famous bakery-style dough for this recipe unless it’s the golden orange tangy-sweet apricot filling inside.




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