We’ve just returned from an amazing trip to the U.S. that included a six-day cooking course in South Dakota, and a car trip from there to Tacoma, Washington. During class, participants made gorgeous meals from almost one hundred percent local ingredients, which were accompanied by baguettes from La Brea bakery. They arrive frozen and partially baked. Five minutes in an extremely hot oven and the baguettes emerge crackling and delicious.
Michelle Storer with “the Teach” Photo by Cathy Arkle
As we wound our way through the Plains and the Bitterroot Mountains back to the West Coast, with stops in Cody, Wyoming, Ennis, Montana, Yellowstone National Park (glorious), and Spokane, Washington, we ate exceedingly well. I was surprised and delighted with the restaurants we visited. From the Continental Divide in Ennis to Clover in Spokane, meals were made with fresh, local ingredients prepared with great care.
Bread, however, remained a weak spot. Of course, bread isn’t as important in the U.S. as it is here where no meal is complete without it.
On our return a couple of days ago, after a long airline voyage where the food was execrable, our first stop was the bakery. Our favorite is closed for vacation but that didn’t matter. Good bread is easily had at just about any boulangerie in our town, and we weren’t disappointed. I got two “parisses,” a firm, sourdough baguette made with hard-wheat flour and baked to a caramel-y turn. Still warm from the oven, golden, crackling crust and creamy, hole-filled interior was so overwhelmingly redolent of fresh, toasted wheat that one disappeared immediately. It needed nothing, not even butter, to dress it up.
And that loaf of bread, so simple and so perfect, was both the staff of life, and the perfect welcome home!