Saturday, January 11, 2020

Baking and books . . . .

When I can make time - perhaps on a cold, preferably snowy, winter day, 
if we ever get one - I hope to make a sourdough starter and then 
learn how to bake a crusty, fragrant boule of sourdough bread.
This is the book I'll use because Emilie Raffa is my kind of gal when
 it comes to the kitchen and cooking. 
It's subtitled as "A Beginner's Guide to Delicious Handcrafted Bread with
 Minimal Kneading."
Instructions are clear, design and photography beautiful, printing and book
 quality excellent for a soft cover publication.
I discovered Emilie when I picked up "The Clever Cookbook" as gift for 
my granddaughter who now has a kitchen of her own. I admit I almost kept
 that book for myself as it's so fabulous.

I gifted myself with several new books at Christmas. I keep a Wish List on Amazon, 
just for books and music perhaps not available in our local independent book shop.
This year I also had to order my annual wall calendar for the kitchen online - the one 
I've bought for years - Swedish artist Carl Larsson (1853-1919) whose paintings of his 
house and family are amazing.
Being the age we are, purchases made online are minimal really. Getting out and
walking, looking, sometimes buying, and shopping in bricks and mortar stores seems 
to be exercise for us. . . . . . go ahead youngsters, you can laugh!
 My neighbor told me yesterday, during a discussion focusing on several major
 shops closing - or cutting back on store numbers as Pier 1 and Macy's have
 announced this week - that his young adult daughters purchase almost everything 
online.  Highlights of my younger days were meeting my girlfriends to 'go shopping',
 have a coffee or lunch, talk face to face. . . . . all made for a jolly good time and 
bring me so many great memories.
I still meet my friends now and then for a coffee or lunch outing, however 
must admit spending hours trawling malls and shops are infrequent. 
That part is usually done with Bob for items we really need. . . . such as food 
and a good bottle of wine!

Until that snowy day arrives I often seem to be spending time here, 
not only knitting whilst watching a movie of an evening, but grabbing an
 hour to catch up on magazines, read a chapter of my current book, or enjoy
 turning the pages of a cookbook. The latter often inspiring me to
unwind myself from the cozy throw, start moving, and get back into the
 kitchen, one of my favorite places to be.

Have you baked sourdough bread?
Did you get any great new cook books for Christmas?
Do you have snow, and are you enjoying snuggling in your
favorite comfy spot at home?
Any new yummy recipes to share for a cold January day?

Thanks so much for the really nice comments on my last post.
You are such great friends.


  1. Jim use to have a sour dough starter and bake bread, but I haven't done so. The book sounds appealing. I received a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for Christmas and thinking I may go browse today. I must say I do much of my shopping online and keep a wish list on Amazon. They make it so easy. I don't snuggle in a comfy spot except at night when I read in bed for an hour or so. I relish those hours. Happy baking, dear friend.

  2. Dear Mary, I'm watching this space for when you make the sourdough bread! Thank you for your comment on my post today. I have lots of energy. I was blessed to have a fortnight off from my normal job so had a good rest. I would love to have you in my group. You are right: my big Group in the town of Winterton is very vibrant and busy. The one in the Valley (under those beautiful mountains) is slightly smaller (only 25 members) but the members are old farmer's wives and hoteliers and full of nonsense. So we all have great fun while they lose weight the healthy way. Blessings Jo

  3. I tried to make sourdough bread after taking a class by a local woman, who then gifted us with starters. My bread turned out awful! My mother is the bread baking expert. She is really into sourdough and keeps making loaf after loaf, trying to perfect her technique. She gifts a lot of bread to neighbors. ;-)

    The two companies I buy from online all the time are Amazon and Vitacost. If you're not familiar with Vitacost, they specialize in natural and organic foods, natural health and beauty aid items, vitamins and supplements...and tons of other things. I even buy my cat's food from them as it's much cheaper than in the stores. They have excellent customer service, too and everything arrives on your doorstep in 2 days.

    I find the only things I enjoy shopping for in brick and mortar stores anymore are antiques and vintage items. Although I do like stores like HomeGoods when I need something quick, such as a table runner, sheets, or holiday items. Of course, nothing will ever replace an independent bookstore for me. I do buy most of my books online, but could spend hours browsing in a bookstore - and I always buy at least one book when I'm in one of those stores.

    I think malls will soon be a thing of the past. They're tearing down the one by my mom's house. And most of the anchor stores (Macy's, Pennys, Sears) have all closed down at the other malls in the area. When I was a teenager in the 70's, that was THE place to meet up with my friends. Good memories.

  4. I like cooking but I’m not a bread maker as I don’t eat much bread but, all power to you Mary. I love Carl Larssons work ( I did a post on his paintings once ) Have you seen Vilhelm Hammershois work ? You would love it !
    I’m afraid that I’ve ‘ got down with the kids ‘ and I do most of my shopping online now. I still meet the friends that I shopped with but we just sit and eat in the pub instead 🤣😂🤣
    Haven’t had any new cookbooks as I tend to find recipes on Pinterest and online now.
    No snow here as yet but it will probably come in February just in time for my birthday. Hope you and yours are all well. Lots of love from the U.K. XXXX

  5. I love cooking and baking and baking bread is always a favorite thing to do in the winter. Have you tried to make the "artisan bread" that you mix day one let sit overnight and then bake in a lided enamel pot? It always comes out perfect and is so so easy.

    I purchased the Half Baked Harvest cookbook and it is fabulous, just like the blog! Tiegen is amazing. I did get a few more but I will have to get back to you because I cannot remember them right now.

  6. I have never baked with sourdough in my life, but I love sourdough bread.
    And shopping - I much prefer the "brick and mortar" kind of shopping, too, as it gets me out in town and I do not have more than 10 minutes to walk to the shops, anyway.
    Carl Larsson is an artist I very much admire, his work is so beautiful! I have a coffeetable book of his house and family pictures.

  7. That does look like a great cookbook. I have never made sourdough

  8. Dear Mary,
    Until you get your sourdough starter going the "no knead Bread" will keep you happy. Here are a couple of links to get you started. I promise, it is the finest French bread you have ever tasted and no failures guaranteed.

  9. Oh, Mary, I can just smell that bread already. You made my mouth water.

  10. I've stopped buying cookbooks as there are so many recipes on the internet. I really like making bread, when I have time.

  11. Hi dear! I still pop by from time to time to see what you are up to. Miss our days hanging out and antiquing! I've been baking a lot of bread these days. The house always smell so good! Hope to see you soon! xx luv Vanessa


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