Editor’s Letter: October 2014
September 15, 2014 By Janine Druery
I recently stumbled across a pile of photographs taken during a European backpacking adventure some 20 years ago.
I recently stumbled across a pile of photographs taken during a European backpacking adventure some 20 years ago. The snapshots were slightly grainy and faded (it was long before a 64GB mobile phone could do the job), but they were, for me, rife with nostalgia and rich with remembrance.
While there were many exquisite shots of European countries in the pile, I lingered over the shots of Paris – one of my very favourite places. For many people, Paris is the “City of Light” or the “City of Love.” But judging from the number of photos in which I am “avec baguette,” Paris was, for me, the “City of Bread.” Sure, places like the Musee d’Orsay or the Arc de Triomphe feature in my photos, but the mighty baguette definitely got its fair share of camera time.
I think that is because, while in Paris, I would head out each morning to a boulangerie with my friends and pick up a warm baguette or two. We would then make them part of our Parisian breakfast, with a bit of butter, jam and either some pain au chocolate or some strong coffee.
Sometimes we’d save them for later in the day when we’d make sandwiches and enjoy them with a glass of vino. And, let’s face it… sometimes we’d eat them straight out of the bag (as we know, a great baguette tastes wonderful au naturel).
Rumour has it that during the 1900s, the French ate almost three baguettes a day per person. While my friends and I never reached that kind of consumption, the baguette was our daily bread – and the ultimate symbol of French culture.
It seems fitting, then, that the main topic of this issue of Bakers Journal – my first as editor as I cover for Laura Aiken while she is on maternity leave – is about the beautiful baguette.
In our cover story, called “The Perfect Baguette,” writer Julie Fitz-Gerald delves into what makes the ideal French baguette – from shaping to scoring to baking. The baguette may only include four simple ingredients, but making a great one is a challenge that can try the patience of the most skilled baker. But when it’s done properly, the baguette is beyond delicious. (Speaking of delicious, be sure to also check this issue’s profiles on the sweet successes of Chocklat and Bobbette & Belle).
Of course, I am no longer a young traveller with the ability to linger for hours in European cafés. I am back in the Great White North, I have a family, and life has ramped up to warp speed. But that hasn’t dampened my love of visiting the wonderful bakeries and patisseries in my city. I love stepping into the warm shops, breathing in the delicious aromas and choosing which treats I will buy to share with my family or friends.
Of course, with my new role at this publication, I have firmly decided to make those kinds of outings a lot more frequent – and more far-reaching. It’s all in the name of research, of course!
Do you make the perfect baguette? For that matter, do you make a delicious cupcake, divine croissant or wonderful macaron? I’d love to hear from you and find out about your business, find out what you’d like to read about in the magazine, and discuss “all things baking” as I immerse myself in this exciting industry. Feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org./
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