Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,
Happy New Year! I know what you’re thinking – it doesn’t feel like the Year of the Tiger but yet here we are. Tigers are brave, spirited and full of personal courage. I myself am not a Tiger (I’m a Horse) but I think 2022 definitely calls for Tiger-like attributes. So you Tiger bakers out there - inspire us!
Oh 2021 - what a year you've been...
It’s been a big year for all of us in some way because even without a pandemic, when you sum up a year in the life of anyone it’s always impressive in review. There’s inner and outer journeys and even if you think you’re standing still or isolated in place things are always churning and evolving.
But last January I figured, ok – I can do this hunker-down thing for another season. I’m Canadian and it’s what we do although the cold-weather-hunker-down thing generally features a lot of hockey which was not around. Then it was and now, yes, you guessed it, it’s not or not really. So many pro hockey players are out that chances are, the goalie for any given team is the Zamboni driver or an accountant (NOT that's there's anything wrong with either).
By summer 2021 I saw the light of 2022 – things are definitely on the upswing! I got back into swimming and live studio yoga (with one other student, our vaccine passport checked at the door). I stopped wearing a mask in the hallway of my condo. And then this tsunami happened. So now I’m back (along with everyone else I know) to car picnics with family and wintery walks with friends, ordering groceries (which if you think about it is incredibly decadent in all ways) and returned to online yoga. My stock of French hard soap, flour and dried peas (hello Little House on the Prairie) finally dwindled down only to be rebuilt all over again when I first felt the ‘surge’ of things start to build a few weeks ago. What are you going to do? You can’t fight City Hall (oh wait, City Hall is closed due to Covid).
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver, Poet
What I do is wake up each morning and pronounce this day is a new adventure on my personal ‘island’. What am I going to do today in this special kingdom of mine or as poet Mary Oliver said, this one precious life? Put in that context, each day is indeed an adventure and am its captain. These strange times might be for another year or a few months or maybe this is it. If so I can build a beautiful ship in a glass bottle so big, I don’t even notice I’m not yet out to sea. Of course, I miss the same things you all do but I am so incredibly grateful. When I think of people up when I'm asleep, somewhere, in some lab, tweaking a vaccine or health care workers doing night time rounds or restaurant workers, bus drivers, retail staff all at their posts, I’m in awe.
In other news, I’m learning about eye make-up (since who cares I’m wearing blush), travelling through HeyGo, devouring Sarah Maas books (if you like romance and fantasy) getting ready to launch my four book clubs for the new season as well as my new Scone book (3 more weeks and it will be out!) I’m finally writing my first non-cookbook (tango!) but also working on the Montreal Cookbook. I promise you that anyone will like this book. It’s simply great food more than it is Montreal centric but it will also be full of nostalgia for Montrealers and those who know our city). And yes of course, it will include the recipe for Montreal bagels as well as Montreal smoked meat! There’s also the big Bread cookbook I’m working on.
Apart from publishing, in March I’m teaching my own designed course called Your Wellness Tool Kit. I pitched the idea to a local college and I’m delighted to be introducing people to wellness, joy and how to thrive – no matter what. The pursuit of wellness, calm, and default happiness has been my pet project for decades. All the things I do that have kept me afloat is more than a course; it’s a book but for now it will be this debut series on Zoom. I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned and researched and help others build their own wellness oasis. People now collectively get why self-care makes sense but it always makes sense. One doesn’t much care about it when things are ‘good’ but if you have it in place as a default (it does take practise to become second nature) it’s a blessing to have it when things are a bit wonky.
Recipes for January 2022
Free Recipe !! Portuguese Rolls
Best Vegetable Soup
Costco Banana Bread
Skillet Cinnamon Buttermilk Coffee Cake