Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hunt Street Farmer's Market Wrapup

Hunt Street Market Patrons let us know, in no uncertain terms this past Saturday morning: MORE BLUEBERRY CREAM CHEESE DANISHES PLEASE!  Before 10AM, these moist, tangy, sweet and juicy blueberry treats were completely gone from our table and into the hands of our guests.  

Favorites this week also included our Pumpkin, Cranberry/Orange, Carrot, and Blueberry Muffins, Brownies with Walnuts, Chocolate Swirl Buns, Almond Croissants, Ham and Cheese Croissants, Butter Croissants, and Chocolate Croissants.  

What about the donuts, Becky?  What about the Donuts?!  Joel was on vacation and it was looking like we might not have have donuts at the Market once again.  Ari asked if I would like to come in and learn how to mix, roll, cut and fry donuts.  How could I say no?!  Putting donuts in hands and smiles on faces is one of the best parts of my Saturday morning.

And so that is just what I did.  Working alongside Ari, I learned that making donuts is not complicated work, but it does require dedicated attention to detail and precision care. We fried up four Cake Style Donuts; Curry, Cinnamon Sugar, Cardamon/Nutmeg/Cinnamon, Old Fashioned.  I also cut Brioche Donuts that Ari later fried and filled with Cannoli cream, which were sensational!  I cut a couple up for sampling and tried one myself, and the rest left in paper bags or gripped between a sheet of wax paper with happy market goers.  

We will be out at Hunt & Foster street again, from 8AM to noon, for the first Saturday in September!  Stop by and say "Hi", and try a bite of something new.


Lisa Sorg Fired

Lisa Sorg, editor of the Indyweek and longtime friend of the Bakery, was fired from her post August 12th without notice or warning.  Apparently, the new owners of the Indyweek were unhappy with controversial issues such as "You Lost.  Get Over It." (re: Confederate Flag judgement) and wanted an editor more in touch with mainstream Raleigh, which sounds to me like a bad case of the blahs.  The Indyweek was exciting under Sorg's tenure precisely because it was controversial and challenging.  To dumb it down and make it into the type of toilet paper that passes for a weekly in other cities is to do a disservice to our little speck of blue in the otherwise red state of North Carolina.

I'm saddened for Lisa to lose her platform to raise issues of racism, inequality, injustice, and corporate and governmental malfeasance in the Triangle.  When I faced tough days over the past two years at the Bakery, I could always look at the Indyweek display near our entrance, and whether it chronicled the latest hit restaurant or Duke Energy fiasco, I would literally say, "Thank God for Lisa Sorg, at least someone out there is saying the truth and calling it right."

You can find Lisa's writing now at Bull City Rising.  Feel free to express your displeasure to Indyweek Publisher Susan Harper:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Cajun parishes of Louisiana constitute just about the only section of the United States in which good food is taken as the norm in any kitchen, private or public. Before my first trip to Iberia Parish, I asked a serious New Orleans eater where I should eat while I was there.  I prepared to take notes on secret routes to secret cafes or the names of local collaborators who might risk divulging to a hungry traveling man where the decent restaurants were.  "Eat anywhere," he said.

From American Fried, by Calvin Trillin

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Baker's Life in 1860

Through the first half of the nineteenth century, most of the city's bakers were Scottish and Irish, but that began to change in the 1850's, as Germans flowed into New York. By the end of the decade, responsibility for baking the city's bread had passed into German hands.

The typical German bakery, housed in a tenement cellar, was a low-ceilinged room with a dirt floor and no running water. The "boss baker" often lived upstairs with his family and a handful of employees who shared the apartment as boarders. Many times, though, employees slept in the cellar next to the ovens, a sack of flour for their bed. Some slept in the dough vats. Economic survival for the small-time baker depended on every member of the family. The children worked as apprentices, while the baker's wife was in charge of the boarders, for whom she cooked and did laundry. On the most densely populated blocks in the German wards, a cellar bakery was found in every third or fourth building.

Prior to the widespread use of steam power beginning in 1882, industry in New York ran on muscle power, most of it supplied by immigrants. In a city of shipbuilders, ironworkers, and stonecutters, the baker's life was especially harsh. His shift started late in the afternoon and lasted until early morning, which meant a fourteen-hour workday or sometimes more. At the end of the long, hot night (temperatures in the bakery could easily reach one hundred degrees), the bakers hauled their goods up to the street and loaded up the delivery wagons. Now, finally, it was time to rest, just as the sun was coming up over the East River. Faces caked with flour, the bakers slept while the rest of the city went about its business. It was a topsy-turvy existence and a lonely one, too. For all his sweaty work, the journeyman baker earned between eight and eighteen dollars a week, hardly enough to support a family. The consequences were plain. More than any other tradesman, many New York bakers were consigned to a life of bachelorhood.

From 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman.  Via Jbowman.

Hunt Street Farmer's Market Wrapup

Joel charmed our market patrons again Saturdwith SIX varieties of Handmade Cake Style Donuts including; Chocolate/Coconut, Cardamon/Cinnamon/Nutmeg, Curry, Sugar and Old Fashioned. Not to mention a SELL-OUT Vanilla Custard Filled Brioche Donut!  I can't wait to see what he has for us next week!  

We also had piles of our other fan favorites such as Vegan Savory Indian Curry Hand Pies, Vegan Sweet Cowboy Hand Pies, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars, Gluten-Free Banana Coconut Cookies, Scones, 3 varieties of Croissants, Muffins, Bread, Biscotti, Cookies, and the always crowd pleasing Cinnamon Roll.

Looking forward to next is promising another beautiful North Carolina weekend.  We can expect a high in the mid 80s and partly cloudy.  Stop by and say Hi.  We'll be at the corner of Hunt & Foster St. from 8 a.m.- Noon.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Employee Profile: John and Herbert

John and Herbert

John and Herbert (pronounced ERR-ber) make up our distinguished two-man cleaning crew team at the Bakery.  Every employee does some cleaning, but ultimately, John and Herbert are responsible for making sure our 4,000 sq ft facility is as clean as your mom's kitchen floor.  John is a NC native, and a disabled ex-Marine.  He has been with the Bakery since 2010.  Hebert, a native of Peru, has been with the Bakery since early 2015.  Initially, I was unsure how these two teammates would work together, but have been amazed at how they have overcome language and cultural barriers to be great working partners, helping each other out and strategizing on the many dirty and difficult jobs the Bakery can hold, and even becoming friends along the way.

Saturday, August 1, 2015