The BHB’s Top 10 Cookbooks That Are Just Plain Good Reads

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors!

Did you know that a cookbook can be more than a collection of recipes? It can actually be… A BOOK.

Yes, yes, how shocking.

 

If you think about it for longer than a second, cookbooks don’t need to as dry and dull as your college textbooks. Food is an extremely personal and social thing, and so people who choose to write a book of recipes have the opportunity to fill in the gap, so to speak.

A cookbook can absolutely instruct- “This is how you make my favorite jambalaya.” Much more interesting and enjoyable, however, is “I make this jambalaya especially for rainy, crappy days, because it reminds me of when I worked in this great restaurant in New Orleans. Let me tell you, the chef there was so particular….”

See that? The recipe became a story. It had a background, and a special meaning for the writer, which they just offered to you. Maybe you’ll never make that jambalaya except once or twice? Maybe it’ll become your favorite, and you’ll want to go to NOLA yourself one day, find the authors old restaurant, and taste the real deal.

Continue reading

Special Post: Excerpts from the coming BHB Book!

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

This week has been more than a little crazymaking and exhausting, and as such, I don’t have a really solid blog post ready for today.

Animated GIF of a baby asleep on a toy train

Footage of me biking home today…
I’m sure I’ll have something a bit better next week.
In the meantime though, as a way of recompense, here are a couple excerpts from my upcoming book!

Continue reading

On Doubt and Feline Doughnuts

​Good evening, friends and neighbors!
There’s been a lot of thinking, rethinking, and nefarious plotting going on at my end recently- what I want “On The Bench” to be next, what it used to be versus what it has become, and how I want to go about tackling that “next big thing” we ALL worry about- the big project, the big presentation, the opening day, the whatever.
In the midst of all of it, two fortuitous memories resurfaced amid the frothy madness that the waters of life work themselves up into.

The first one is the video below, which remains one of the single best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten for attempting ANY project EVER- personal, professional, or academic.

The second one is a bit more of a story. This blog will therefore be a little different than the others- part story, and part actual news update about what this blog will turn into, and what I want to do next.

Watch the video, and I’ll see you after the jump. Thank you Extra Credits for handing down some sage advice that makes so much sense, I wished I’d learned it earlier in life.

Continue reading

The Eye For Detail

Good evening, friends and neighbors.

There are reasons I call myself a “baker,” and not a “pastry chef.”

Beyond the respect and station that I think comes with the “chef” title that I personally don’t think I’ve earned just yet, or the argument that “a chef is a cook who leads other cooks” and I haven’t had any cooks under my command for longer than a couple hours, there’s the fact that… well… I don’t think I’m quite crazy enough yet.

Let me explain- when I say “not crazy enough,” I mean that I still stand in rapt awe, wonder, and a little fear, of people who possess the meticulous attention to detail necessary to do certain things. Not just do them once or twice, but REPETITIVELY, and CONSISTENTLY. No cutting corners, no shrugging things off as “rustic” or “it’s meant to be like that”- if whatever these people do isn’t looking pristine, it’s unacceptable.
While I’m not exactly envious of the perfectionism these individuals have (my grandfather’s saying “Don’t let ‘perfect’ be the enemy of ‘good’” comes to mind- and he was a brain surgeon) I am constantly in wonder of the level of PERCEPTION involved in noticing minuscule details.

Like many things in this world, an ideal case study for it comes from a certain mouse.

Continue reading

Tapping The Breaks- Dealing With Burnout

Good evening, friends and neighbors!

This week’s entry is going to be a little light, and next week’s is gonna be… well, non-existent, because I’m finally getting to go on vacation. Emily and I will be heading down to Florida for a few days to see her folks. It’ll be our first chance to ACTUALLY get away in nearly two and a half years, and frankly, it couldn’t have come sooner.

Continue reading

Mise En Temps- Timeline Like A Baker

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors.

The clock starts as soon as I walk in the door.

In the first 10 – 15 minutes of my day in the bakeshop, I need to:

1. Determine the state of the front counter and what they will need immediately.
2. Whether anything has been requested that I didn’t anticipate the day before.
3. Amalgamating my task list for the day.
4. Pulling anything that will need time to come to a workable temperature (frozen doughs, cream cheese to soften for icing, etc.)
5. Prepare my station- knife roll where it’s accessible, sanitizer bucket and towel, extra dry towel tucked in my apron.
6. Review any instructions from the pastry chef.
7. Get a cup of tea or energy drink in me.

Once I have that list ready (as well as an energizing beverage), the planning begins.

Continue reading