Sunday, December 1, 2019

lil farm strikes again

franklin bbq pilgrimage

early drinking in line is not only forgiven, but encouraged.  we got in line at 730am and were served at 1130am. we were about 20th from the front out of 300.

Pit tour!

bakery acrostic affirmations

will warasila

joe sink

You may have noticed we are now carrying custom mugs by Joe Sink of White Cross, NC (near Carrboro). He's super talented and shows up at the Hunt Street Farmer's Market to sell on Saturdays. He made a glazed cassarole dish for me that is my favorite purchased item of the year.  He also donated a large decorative vase to the Bakery that had a hairline crack in it that sits on the bar.  


Holiday Staff Meeting 2018, with guest Russell Dudley of Top Notch Performance

Friday, November 29, 2019

Love my bookkeeper Sarah M. In addition to keeping the house straight, she leaves a little shrine arrangement to my tsochkes before she leaves (antique salt and pepper shakers and some sea glass). What a gem.

Monday, November 25, 2019

pie inflation

I feel like the overly expensive pie might be anti-pie? This is a post from last year but their 9'' Thanksgiving pies from this year are $48.

Tartine Manufactory and Tartine Bakery

Pies available at the Manufactory: Pumpkin, apple, butterscotch cream tart ($50 each). At the bakery: Pumpkin, apple ($50 each), banana cream tart ($54).


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"Can i make a bagel i connect with?"

Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be asking these questions.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Cookbook Review: Saltie

Image result for saltie cookbook

Saltie was a sandwich shop in Brooklyn that operated from 2009-2017. Like the second wave celebrity chefs of that era, Saltie trafficked in homespun recipes and elevated comfort food. Having never eaten there, I must say that I feel the cookbook encapsulates a place and time in American gastronomy that I look back on fondly. I was food-obsessed, and the Food Network and other media outlets had taken the pleasures of taste and democratized them and made them accessible. Now with Instagram, I am overwrought with images of fancified food, satiated beyond reasonable capacity, but back then, there was a real hunger for copycat recipes and home cooking. I made ramen. I was obsessed with pie. I fried donuts. I pickled. I was obsessed with chocolate chip cookies. I ate porchetta. All things that were delicious, but also novel. Now, we are anesthetized to new foods. Nothing surprises the palate anymore. Perhaps the best a restaurant can do is to make some food very balanced, very fresh, and very consistent (which is rare). But for that singular moment (which really lasted about as long as Saltie was alive), an egg salad sandwich with pickle from Saltie (which my gourmand friend Dave says was overrated) sounded and looked transcendent and revelatory. I can't say that I have cooked anything from the Saltie cookbook by Caroline Fidanza et al., but I like to leave it out like a stone or a talisman, conjuring nostalgia and inspiring me to continue to make honest food that looks beautiful and has authentic flavors. Now in a time when overpriced hipster sandwiches feel passé and bourgeois, I see Saltie as a marker of both the beginning and ending of an American "gourmet" food movement. There will continue to be hipster pizza pies (Pooleside Pies just opened), and bagel shops where you can get a dozen (not a baker's dozen) for $19, but beyond the fatigue of the palate and a deficit of original ideas, there will always be Saltie and the search for the perfect sandwich.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

rest in peace toni morrison

That evening the women brought bowls of pot liquor from black-eyed peas, from mustards, from cabbage, from kale, from collards, from turnips, from beets, from green beans. Even the juice from a boiling hog jowl.

Two evenings later Aunt Jimmy had gained much strength.

-from The Bluest Eye

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Housing Stock, Human Stock

Mecklenburg County subdivision-aerial 2010

I was flying over Charlotte in route to RDU and it struck me that much of Charlotte is planned like an overgrown Brier Creek, with single family subdivisions organized by Toll Brothers for miles and miles. Generic, without authentic aesthetics, these homes draw dwellers that want the privacy and comfort of a family home within a short driving distance to Target or Chili's. They are unbothered by the contradictions of living in an artificial community.

In Durham, the chorus of disenchanted voices has increased in the past two years as cranes perpetually hover over development sites, erecting faceless, homogeneous apartment complexes that have come to represent gentrification writ large.  Click on the link below to see:

These developments come from a master diagram by builders who are not based in Durham, and have no investment in the community. Their contribution to the housing stock is one motivated simply by capitalism; a formula (repeatable drawings) allows them to maximize their profit. Aesthetically, they are bland at best, behemoth eyesores at worst. The speed at which developers can erect these structures reminds me of the vast strip-malling of America in the 1980's that hollowed out local business communities and made ghost towns of downtown business streets. Like mountaintop removal for coal mining, generic apartment development shears a community of its character and vitality. City Council is quick to decry the perils of gentrification and the host of governance limitations imposed by an authoritarian State on regulating development, but my personal opinion is that we could be doing more to limit the influx of these developments or at least have more community input on their impact to the urban landscape.

The reason why I care is not only for my own well-being, but I believe that the human stock of a city mirrors that of its housing stock. If the housing stock is generic, without character, transitory, and essentially cheap on aesthetics, we will be drawing new Durhamites that are either blind to or actually find solace and comfort in those characteristics. I walked into the new Oak House recently on Main Street and it felt like setting foot in a Starbucks in a larger city with white well-groomed people on laptops and devices. One of the great worries I have is that developers see Durham as a reasonably blank slate onto which could be grafted the next Raleigh, or Charlotte. Two of possibly the most stutifyingly boring cities I've ever visited.

Monday, August 12, 2019

frank ferrell

great photo of the founder of Ninth Street Bakery, Frank Ferrell.  He turned 71 this past year!