Bakers Journal

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Editorial: From boats to buns


November 11, 2008
By Brian Hartz

“Well, what can I say but happy baking, amigo – from boats to buns!”

“Well, what can I say but happy baking, amigo – from boats to buns!”

That line, from an e-mail written by a good friend and fellow journalist I left behind in New Zealand, sums up the transition I’ve made to be with you as the new editor of Bakers Journal. In my previous job as assistant editor of Boating New Zealand magazine, I soaked up some amazing new skills, such as scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. In this job, I’ll be learning things that’ll probably be more appreciated around the house – not that knowing how to gut and fillet a fish doesn’t qualify as an important domestic skill.

Which brings us to what brought me here. In 2006, about a year after moving to New Zealand (I’m originally from that country directly south of Canada), and after much worry and discomfort, my wife, Katelyn, was diagnosed as being wheat- and gluten-intolerant. Her condition plunged us into nothing short of a new lifestyle, in which we carefully checked and re-checked the ingredients of everything we bought at the supermarket, relentlessly searched the web for suitable restaurants, and sought out specialty shops and bakeries offering wheat- and gluten-free products.

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I don’t claim to be a “foodie,” but I am married to one, and I knew that this grim dietary diagnosis broke her heart. I also knew that doing anything other than fully embracing her dietary needs would be unacceptable. As a result, I’ve eaten more rice in the past three years of my life than in the previous 27 combined, but more importantly, I’ve begun paying much closer attention to what goes into the food that goes into me, and empathizing with people afflicted by food allergies and intolerances.

Like many of you who’ve parlayed your love of food into working at or starting a bakery, I’m enchanted by the sights and smells of freshly baked bread, doughnuts, pies, cakes, buns, rolls, cupcakes, muffins and all the other wonderful creations you produce on a daily basis. In fact, when I think of comfort food, it’s usually something baked – my Mom’s bread pudding, actually, or her buckeyes, which are little balls of Rice Krispies and peanut butter coated in dark chocolate and baked to decadent perfection. I don’t know what I’d do without such treats, but having a loved one incapable of sharing many of them inspires me to learn everything I can about baked goods and the intriguing processes and hardworking people that produce them.

At the Ethnic and Specialty Food Expo in early October I chatted with Peter Cuddy of Organic Works Bakery in London, Ont., and his young son Michael, who was giving Dad a hand at the Mississauga trade show. Father and son were having a great time showing off their range of gluten-free bread and cookies, which Katelyn was having an even better time sampling, and when they saw the “Bakers Journal” on my nametag they called out to me by my first name as if we’d known each other for years.

That moment made me thrilled to be with Bakers Journal, which you obviously consider a part of your baking family here in Canada. I look forward to strengthening those ties while doing my very best to ensure the magazine remains “the voice of the Canadian baking industry.” We’re here for you: to promote your businesses, to celebrate your successes, to listen to your frustrations and to share news about trends, issues and new technology that affect you. Let us know how we can help.

In closing, please join me in congratulating former editor Jane Ayer on the birth of her second child, daughter Molly Elizabeth Ayer Hume, on Sept. 4.