Dear Fellow Bakers and Friends,
Boo! It’s the November 2023 Issue of Betterbaking.com. Have you been stressed and worried? Has the outer world (reality) affected your inner reality? Me too and it’s hard to bear unless I was one of those people who could filter out the world. But fear not – come to the kitchen. Meet me by a pre-heating oven and take a breath of wellness. Enjoy the pure tonic of baking.
Baking from June to August is like all-season tires. It’s still wonderful albeit regulated to homes with a/c or cooler nights, quick-baked berry pies or refrigerator cakes. But from September to March, is the dedicated ‘winter-tire’ of baking . These are months wholly focused on that wheaty landscape that is a siren’s call – but in a good way. If it’s November, it’s time to bake; if it’s November, the holidays are hot on its tail. Make haste.
What we bakers have always known is that baking is its own wellness program. In fact, before it was even termed Wellness, it was called ‘baking’. Yeah – the pioneers were into wellness except they didn’t know it. They called it survival. Baking is how we care for ourselves. In it, we find structure, the centering posts of physical activity, an opportunity to focus and harvest the rewards of such focus and calm. We’re rewarded with an oasis that is settling and feeds us in a few ways. We nourish ourselves and others all in senses and spirit. It’s something we can come back to it over and over again for the well in this wellness movement is never dry.
Sometimes I think that if we love baking, maybe we don’t have to post our efforts globally. Texts a picture to one friend or a sibling, offspring or spouse but resonate on the spot. Stay with it before it becomes a social media trophy which like most trophies, carries no echo. Tell you what, if you bake something or something of mine, you can share it with me. But sometimes it’s; nice to just stay inside yourself before your spread your energies with the world’s strangers. Truth to tell, I only share stuff on social media because I figure I should and it’s always (trust me) an afterthought. I’m content to commune with my inner BB circle which is plenty. You’re a very big village.
I mention these things (and honestly, this is wasn’t what I was going to chat about this month; I am sure it was something to do with cinnamon) because of the feature in the New York Times and scathing comments about a blogger called Tieghen Gerard who is the creative spirit behind Half Baked Harvest. Hope you can see it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/30/dining/half-baked-harvest-tieghan-gerard.html
The negative vigor and judgmentalness towards a younger food professional was jaw-dropping although many (including me) defended the blogger. It also made me relieved to be old(er). I began BB when I thought the Internet was a passing phase. Over two decades later, I’m still puttering online. In the beginning, when I began BB I was chronically embroiled in single-parenting, publishing cookbooks and teaching baking, I observed the Internet and media trends come and go (and I still do), evolving in extraordinary ways. I realized early on that I couldn’t really keep up. (News flash: no one can). I experimented in many directions but there were all sorts of constraints and I soon learned I could only continue in a simple way as I still do.
I cringe a little to think of how my endeavour would be if I had millions of followers. It would have shifted everything from my center on out. I would have morphed into something different and that green-eyed thing called envy or competitiveness would have tainted me as it taints much of what goes online. I’m human. Instead, I’ve been rewarded by not chasing nor pining which are the two most depleting places to be – at least for me.
I apologize for not talking about sugar and spice (it’s in this month’s recipes!). I happily remind you the BB Recipe archives are all fixed and there is every and anything you need (pumpkin pie, world’s best turkey recipes, all things cranberry) there for American Thankgiving. As I am in Canada, we will be celebrating our own holiday DST or Daylight’s Saving Time for which of course the traditional offering is chocolate and lots of it. But the Complete Recipe Archives are bulging with seasonal recipes for cooking and baking and being refreshed all the time. If you want something and can’t find it please ring my doorbell.
Meanwhile, please be kind to both family and friends you love and strangers who annoy you. Smile even when you want to grimace; surprise someone with baking or just let go. Let me know about your efforts. I need to know kindred spirits are out there. When in doubt use more sugar and cups and cups of compassion (with boundaries).
Warm wishes, Happy Thanksgiving and happy baking,
Master Baker, Author
Pumpkin Latte Biscotti
Apple Cider Sugared Donut Cake
Pumpkin Filo Pie
Roasted Carrot and Cashew Spread