Back to school, or let the baking begin!
After two months of almost constant sun, rain showers and grey skies have returned to southern BC. It is still lush and beautiful, and most every day we are still getting some lovely breaks in the clouds, but it is quite apparent that we'll be seeing less and less of Mr. Sun for a good long while.
And the kids go back to school tomorrow. The long evenings outside riding bikes or playing with friends are soon to be replaced with more studying, reading, cooking, and baking. Sad to see summer go, but those are all good things too, in my book. :)
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I biked around town today and found a shop that carries a bunch of fancy flours including Anita's Organic Mills  products, which I've heard good things about from other BC bakers, so I picked as much as I could lug back. And I fed my starter today for the first time in weeks. Let the baking commence in 5... 4... 3...
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A funny story from a week or so ago. We found ourselves in one of those interchangeable suburbs found anywhere in the US doing some back to school shopping (yes, we're becoming those kinds of Canadians now). We got hungry and looked around while standing in a parking lot near a Best Buy and a Kohl's and all the other big box stores. The nearest restaurant was a well-known chain restaurant with many of the trappings of an artisan bakery and which has a fairly safe sounding soup, salad, and sandwich kind of menu which I'd actually never eaten at. Truthfully, I was actually a bit curious to see how it was and whether what they sold might at least provide a hint of artisan bakery food (par-baked, of course) the way, say, Starbucks actually serves a decent enough cup of coffee that in many places it was a pretty big step up from what you could find there before they came to town. Besides, greasy fast food is one thing, but how bad can a sandwich be, right?
The sandwiches we got? They were bad. I mean really, really bad, like "I've gotten better sandwiches in hospital cafeterias and in those little triangular plastic boxes sold at grocery stores and gas stations" bad. I was ... actually awed by how bad they were, considering the price and the description on the menu. I've gone to computer conferences where they cater box lunches containing sandwiches for 5,000+ attendees and never gotten anything as bad. How could our made-to-order sandwiches be so nasty?
It made me a bit sad to think there may be some folks out there who associate what they serve at this chain with artisan bread and reminded me of certain "factories" or "gardens" I've been to that serve ersatz Italian fare. While the joints do have red checked tablecloths and play Dean Martin on the stereo, if that is one's experience of Italian food then you really have no idea what Italian food is like.
Fair to say I won't be eating there again.
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Aside from that disappointment, our cross border run went well. Among other things accomplished was picking up a parcel delivered to my parent's house on that side of the border (save money on shipping). Here's a little snippet from the box:
Some of you, I'm sure, can figure out what I picked up from that. I am very excited and looking forward to putting it to heavy use this winter, and the next... and the next... and the next! Much more to come about it as I start putting it to use.