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May 2017 A Note from Marcy

Hello Bakers and Friends,


It’s my favorite month in a very special year. Aside from my birthday, it’s also Mother’s Day, Montreal’s 375th birthday, and perhaps more significantly, it’s Betterbaking.com’s 20th anniversary!  It was two decades ago when BB launched and I was but a slip of a baker and the Internet was all new. 

 

Back in 1997, I was going through a divorce at the time and with that tumult along without much forethought or knowledge, I launched the Betterbaking.com website with a magazine-like concept.  A year later, I published my first cookbook. The years passed and there came some more cookbooks, the website grew, as did my three sons (now men) and I matured from a spunky baker to a more measured person, baker and writer.  Regrettably or happily, I’m just as passionate and always ready to fight the good fight but I am far less easily riled. Let's say I've become discerning about when and where to go into the fray. I'm more likely to keep my own counsel instead of using BB as a confessional platform and my emails, as everyone’s (I hope) have become more sedate. I always write with the thought my readers are close friends or kind acquaintances but I still, out of discretion and courtesy to my readers, leave my frothier writing for www.medium.com and leave the baking instead, on the table. I've also transitioned from traditional publishing and at first reluctantly and now passionately embraced indie publishing. True, I don't have an advance or a helpful editor, but I also don't have any more gatekeepers telling me yea or nay on the ideas I want to make real (i.e. a new book) and bring to you.

Yes, what a difference twenty years make! I am also a better baker and still learning and happy to share. Just reinventing Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake is a good example. There's a way to make Carrot Cake circa 1975 new and I think I found it. You'll be astounded (unless you're not open to change).

 

Publishing BB, Rain or Shine
T
hroughout the past two decades, I was a single parent and as it does for all of us, life rained both its difficulties and joys down on me. Rain or shine, Betterbaking.com has been a constant in my life.  I’ve published my site once a month, no matter what else was going on the home front or professional one, which is to say 240 issues of Betterbaking.com have made it at least to someone’s mailbox.  There’s now over 2570 recipes in the data bank of BB (there's even more recipes in my cookbooks) and each and every one was created and tested by me. Often times, I still go back and fix, correct, and improve existent recipes since I am always learning about better baking and want to share that with you. Nothing gets stale at Betterbaking.com! 

My
thoughts, words and recipes have gone from my keyboard into the ethers where it’s germinated. It’s my hope I’ve taught somehow they are talented bakers (they just needed some advice or a good recipe) and connected our common human spirit via food to the heart itself. At the very least, those 240 BB issues are my own culinary-cum-personal journal of where I’ve been and the company I keep. So I thank both new and long-time readers for your company and tolerating the many moods and styles of my writing and baking. All writers, all authors wonder who’s reading them but writers are obliged to write on faith, with or without a listener or witness. If you’rere a writer you’re honor bound to do it and try to tell the truth in each and every word. Ditto for great recipes. But almost more important to me, twenty years of hosting this site through thick or thin proves to me how resilient we all are. Betterbaking.com and you (and being a mother) has taught me to show up over and over again and shown me that I can no matter what the weather. You have to, to quote the movie Tumbledown (on Netflix), You have to respect the place where you’ve earned your seasons.

When I look back at Betterbaking.com in any previous year, (1997, 2002, 2009 etc.)) I am astounded by what I wrote about. Certainly, my love of my sons and our life in those early days dominated so many BB Notes from Marcy. But also what was cutting edge in food 1997 is now forgotten or old hat. I barely recognize Betterbaking.com in those days unless I look closely. When I do, I can actually remembering writing those articles and inventing those recipes (You Tube Apple Cake, Low Fat Quick Breads - really? What was I thinking of?). I survived low carbs, low fat, complex carbs, Paleo, and the harshest challenge: gluten free (which is still upon us and no judgement, but it’s not something I can adopt across the board unless one day, I have to). Like many of you, I’ve also been on at least three diets a year and only recently, have opted to ELNP (Eat Like a Normal Person) and am in food or diet recovery (more on that at another time and date).

Of course, there’s nothing like 20-year landmark to make you nostalgic which is also what made me stroll down memory lane insofar as scents go. I even ordered a 1 mL decant of Oh De London just to inhale a memory of being 13 years old; I also explored the scents my mom wore (Femme perhaps?) and dug out a bottle of Love’s Baby Soft which I still love.

Past + Present = New Version of Us
The
thing is old scents while sometimes being majestic concoctions, no longer fit our present-day tastes. We no sooner want to wear Arpege or Charlie (although I would) than we want to make Floating Island, Baked Alaska, or Impossible Lemon Pie. Although, some scents, some recipes do make a triumphant return: bread pudding, rice pudding, meatless Walnut Lentil Loaf and timeless oatmeal and Tollhouse Cookies are classics (as are Chanel 5 and Coco; Arden’s Blue Grass and Green Tea and Lauder’s Youth Dew or Linen).

Tinkering around in my perfume cabinet of old and new scents in my relatively new abode I began to see the past in a different way. To my new home, of course I brought my favorite old things, especially in decor. These are things, like my old issues of Bon Appetit, featuring my first articles that I cherish. Some things (and memories) fit and many no longer did. Old means: familiar and there’s a loyalty there. But it’s also a ton of history (whether it be recipes, perfumes or house décor) that can be burdensome. Too much ‘past’ keeps my two feet anchored in yesterday while my head and heart are definitely more in the present. Unless I let go or find a kind way to catalogue or file what was or somehow integrate it into the now, there’s no shaping the present and thriving in it and being the architect of a most amazing future. I would say the same is true for all of us.
 
So, I'm taking a cue from both the perfumer's art and the kitchen, which I know so well. Perfume companies often resurrect an iconic scent. They reconfigure it, taking the best of what it was, keeping its sensibility but updating it with the scent tastes of what is current. In other words, they bring it forward. In baker's terms, adding Nutella to classic banana bread or using coconut oil in your homemade granola are other examples of that. If you don’t bring things forward and let them breathe in a new way, whether it be a perfume, a bread recipe or a part of your life, it’s nigh impossible to keep thriving. So, on this milestone anniversary on my website and in honor of my own birthday, I am striving to be present and allow my present to be a conversion of what was and what is and what may be. The challenge of keeping it all separate is far too difficult a task. The reward of letting it all breathe is richness beyond measure.



Books back in print! 77% Off Kindle Version of My Cookbooks in Kindle Countdown!

My Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking is indeed back in print! This is the revised version that has a bonus 'cooking' chapter (best latkes, meatballs, brisket - you name it!) It's a huge book that weights close to 3 pounds. It's a current today as it was when I first published it and I humbly see it as my Jewish baking go-to book for all time.

You can order it from Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble or ask your favorite local, indie bookstore. (I's also in e-book). It's a great Mothe's Day gift or convocation gift and what’s more, in celebration of BB’s 20th, buy the book and get a whole year of BB Recipe Access on the house.  That in itself is a freebie of $39.99.  I’ll honor any recent prior purchase; just send your proof of purchase. Jewish Holiday Baking, as well as The New Best of Betterbaking.com is also now available on Kindle and Best Holiday Cookies will be available in print by the fall. Best Biscotti is on the way (in print and ebook)!  For those of you who enjoy my books on Kindle, there’s a Kindle countdown on all my books starting Tuesday, May 2nd. You can get the electronic book version of  Jewish Holiday Baking, The Baker's Four Seasons, A Passion for Baking, and When Bakers Cook, each for $4.99 for 5 days straight! (and you get 4 months of  Betterbaking.com Recipe Access with that purchase)

Stay tuned for some great product reviews for Mother's Day and until then, here’s twenty of my favorite recipes for you to enjoy.

Warm thoughts from my baking kitchen in Montreal to you, wherever you are on the planet and in life,

Marcy Goldman

Master Baker & Author
www.Betterbaking.com
20th Anniversary Issue, 1997-2017

Baker's Recipe Stash May 2017
20 Years, 20 Blue-Ribbon Recipes


Buttered Popcorn Bread
Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake
Double Garlic Twisty Cheesy Bread Over 3900 Downloads!
(Almost Levain's) Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Red Velvet Decadence Cookies
Brownie Stuffed Tollhouse Cookies
Bakery Style Butter Crumb Topped Cinnamon Babka
Almost Cherry Garcia Cookies FREE !! Over 5500 Downloads!

Canadian Country Fair Fried Dough FREE !!
Chocolate Eruption Cheesecake
Original Buttermilk Rhubarb Lawsuit Muffins FREE
Decadent Warm Chocolate Cake
Best Lemon Squares FREE
Cinnamon Apple Bread Pudding Muffins
Buttermilk Vanilla Strawberry Scones FREE !!
BB's Famous Pizza Croissants
Caramel Espresso Cake
Macaroni & Cheese Muffins with Soda Cracker Crumb Topping
Cheesecake Truffle Bombs
Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast with Cidered Apples

 


Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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