Where Are All The Male Bakers?

I have really just started this new adventure and hobby in life, baking pies, and already one of the more surprising things that I have come to discover when getting out and meeting other bakers is that there really aren’t a lot of male bakers around?

I don’t have any male friends or family who have as much a passion for baking as I do (they’re either all are vegetarians and vegans, or like to BBQ – from on extreme to the next), so not sure why I expected the foodie blog-sphere to be any different. But excited in my new endeavor and eager to seek and reach out to other foodie bloggers in the same space, I jumped on the computer, popped open Google Chrome and away I went.

It’s a Woman’s World

Women own the baking (and, for a large part, most foodie sites) blogs and website space. That’s just fact. You literally have to look pretty hard to find a male baker. This wasn’t a bad thing by any stretch but it was surprising, and to say it didn’t cause some ‘pause’ in me starting PIE ADDICT, would be an understatement. My concern was that I couldn’t possibly be the first male to start a dessert foodie blog, so where were all the guys? Was there a reason why they weren’t any? I wasn’t sure, but determined as I was, nothing was going to deter me from building my dream.

The big note here – despite being a seemingly women’s-only club, it’s anything but, with baker bloggers from all over eager to help and encourage me on my endeavor. There to assist on a moment’s call. I love foodies!

Is Baking Not ‘Manly’ Enough?

Most of my guy friends love to BBQ. My Facebook wall is adorned with colorful and mouth-watering, photos of steaks, burgers and chicken sizzling on grills in backyards across America. Groups of guys, huddled up around the smoker, beers in hand, basking in the glory and ritual that is the big BBQ before the big ball game. It’s manly. It’s what we do! I mean, how many guys do you know, who post images of their latest cake design or cookie recipe? Yep, I thought so.

Did it bother me? Not really, but it was interesting and it did arouse some curiosity. How would my images of crust preparation, be received? Or me searching markets, high and low for the perfect batch of fresh blackberries for a cobbler I’d been dying to make? Or showing off the fantastic apple peeling contraption recently received from my mother? As far as I was concerned, this would be all part of the fun! So upload I did, and so well-received were the images, I’ve never turned back!

Maybe, just maybe, I’m one of a unique and special group? Maybe even I’m one of the first when it comes to baking pie? One of the few, Guys who like pies! I like the sound of that, but I doubt it. Somewhere out there, there are guys who love to bake and bake pies, as I do, and one day, I will find them and seek their counsel, not around the BBQ pit but around the oven, as we rant and rave of Martha Stewart’s latest and greatest! It is a dream….I often have! 🙂

Sur La Table Has come to Boise!

Although my hopeless addiction to pie has been virtually over a lifetime, my recent ‘preoccupation’ with learning to make and bake my own pies has led me to another infatuation, and that is to acquire and become expert at any and all kitchen tools, utensils and devices that can aid me in addressing my current flaky crust, fruity additions. You can then imagine my delight when Sur La Table opened up one of their newest boutique right here in my own backyard!

Sur La Table – The Art and Soul of Cooking has really out-done itself with its newly, minted shop at the Village at Meridian. To say that I felt as a kid in a candy store would be a dramatic understatement. To put this into better perspective, I love books. I can spend literally hours browsing and ‘loitering’ in Barnes and Nobles. The book store is my ‘happy place’ on Earth. I wish I could own a book store just so I could have the pleasure at working in it every day. Sur La Table could easily trump my love of bookstores. The mere experience at walking through those glass doors, and in and among the maze of shelves and floor displays of kitchen Heaven was more than I could have possibly imagined or prepared myself for.

Maybe it was, up until a couple years ago, I could’ve accompanied my wife into a kitchen store and thought nothing of it. My face most likely buried into the digital display of my phone and the latest Facebook post or tweet, oblivious to the shiny, stainless steel craftmanship of latest Kitchenaid mixers and blenders. But after my new-found ‘religion’ in pies, and the process and tools that go into making them, I could not help myself, but to stop and gawk at virtually every display in the store.

It didn’t matter what it was.

I went through bake-ware and cookware, mixers, blenders and slow cookers. Pie dishes, pastry mats and utensils. I instantly went from just wanting to get the latest and greatest in tools I’ll need for pie-making to wanting to design and fashion the ultimate kitchen. It was both fun and entertaining, and although I didn’t walk out empty-handed, I swore to myself that I would be back and better prepared to pack my shopping basket to a point of silliness. What did I buy?

Pastry Mat

The days of chasing my wax paper around the kitchen counter as I roll out my dough are over! The Sur La Table nonstick silicone Pastry Mat, complete with charts to help guide you as you prepare your pie crust for the appropriate pie dish. Nice!

In addition I was also able to obtain the latest calendars of up-and coming cooking courses being offered by Sur La Table, to which I immediately began highlighting the courses I would very soon be signing up for, most notably being the Pie & Tart Workshop being offered in October. Oh the future is looking bright!

Foodie Film Review – The Hundred Foot Journey

Last weekend the wife and I decided to tackle a late, Sunday night movie. It was a little bold, being that we both had to work, but it was a spontaneous, last second decision and one, I might add, that was well worth the exhaustion we had to endure the following day. What did we see? A foodie-lover dream of a film, The Hundred Foot Journey, Produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Film Plot

The story opens up in Mumbai, India, when a family restaurant run by ‘Papa’ (Om Puri) and his family, ends up being destroyed by a mob upset over an local election dispute. Papa and his family successfully evacuate the guests; however Papa’s wife is killed in the fire set at the restaurant. Seeking asylum in Europe, the family first settles in London; however their residence proves ill-suited to run a restaurant from (they are literally living just at the edge of the airport runway at Heathrow Airport), and eventually they depart for mainland Europe.

Shortly after crossing the border into France the brakes on Papa’s vehicle fail, which results in the family being forced to stay a night in a nearby French village. Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), a local resident and sous chef at an upscale French restaurant in town, helps the family by volunteering the location of an auto repair shop and guest house in the town, as well as providing food for the travel-weary family. Papa is amazed at the quality of the food in the village and its availability, and learns of an abandoned restaurant building on the outskirts of town available for purchase. Seeing this as divine providence, Papa decides to open an Indian restaurant in the village.

Upon learning of Papa’s plan to open an Indian restaurant across the street, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the widowed owner of the upscale French restaurant, attempts to discourage the Indians from proceeding with their plans. After sabotaging Papa’s family by purchasing all the locally available ingredients needed to cook their dishes on opening night, a cold war erupts between Papa and Madame Mallory. The war peaks on Bastille Day, when one of Madame Mallory’s cooks and a pair of his friends vandalize the Indian restaurant by spray painting the outer wall and setting fire to the restaurant’s interior with firebombs. Hassan Haji (Manish Dayal), Papa’s eldest son and premier chef, catches the would be arsonists in the act and scares them off, but in an attempt to extinguish the small fires within the family restaurant his hands end up getting burned.

the hundred foot journey

The following morning, Madame Mallory convenes a meeting of her chefs and asks them if they know the words to La Marseillaise. After citing lines from the song concerning equality and justice, she dismisses the cook from her restaurant responsible for the vandalism and then voluntarily cleans up the graffiti, herself in the midst of a torrential rain storm.

Hassan, having heard that Madame Mallory hires potential chefs by taste testing an omelet they prepare for her, asks if he may cook an omelet for her to try. Citing his injured hands, he says that Madame Mallory will have to help him with the process. After sampling his cooking, Madame Mallory concedes to his potential to be a great chef and invites him to cook for her against the wishes of Papa and his family. Ultimately, Hassan, Papa, and Madam Mallory reach an agreement to allow Hassan to cook in Madam Mallory’s restaurant. Hassan’s cooking proves popular and unconventional enough to result in Madam Mallory’s restaurant receiving its second Michelin Star, an elite honor bestowed on only a handful of restaurants in Europe. The award draws national attention to Hassan’s cooking, and he is offered a job in Paris, France, which he accepts. Meanwhile, Papa and Madam Mallory make amends and ultimately begin to take a romantic liking to each other.

In Paris Hassan’s cooking quickly receives critical acclaim, fueling speculation of a third Michelin Star for the Paris restaurant, he becomes an instant celebrity chef; however Hassan’s restaurant work is increasingly bogged down by thoughts of his family and Marguerite, with whom he had an ongoing romance. Ultimately, Hassan decides to return home, where he and Marguerite reunite. Proposing a business venture together, Hassan declare that he will help Madam Mallory’s restaurant earn its third Michelin Star. That evening, Hassan and Marguerite are allowed to cook dinner for Hassan’s family at Madam Mallory’s restaurant. As the two young chefs bring out the dishes for the meal, everyone looks forward to an evening of romance and fine dining.

Surprisingly Funny, Good Food, Great Cast

I knew virtually nothing of The Hundred Foot Journey, before deciding to view it, other than the main premise of the film was food. So I had no expectations when I walked into the near-empty theater (it was late night Sunday after all) and settled into my cushioned, leather seat.

Papa, played by Om Puri was sensational and very funny, in a grumpy, stubborn sort of way. He was the foundation of the family and the rock on-which the kids anchored themselves to when it came to the direction the family was to take. Most of what comedy was in the film originated with him and it was fantastic.

The food was….. more than delightful. I never get tired of seeing excellent camera work, that can capture the beauty and color of food. From seeing it neatly stacked in the town market, to following it through prep and cooking to watching chefs expertly arrange it on the plate for consumption, The Hundred Foot Journey captured all that more. We saw not just French cuisine but the deliciousness of Indian food as well, with all its color and spice (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it – I may have to grab lunch at my local Indian spot now…ugh!).

The cast was stellar, from Om Puri to Helen Miren to Manish Dayal as Hassan Haji and Charlotte Le Bon as Marguerite. A wonderful story of two cultures coming to respect each other and their food traditions, mixed in with a cast that made it work. The Hundred Foot Journey is a enjoyable, heartfelt film fit for foodies the world over.

For those who have seen the film, I would love to hear your personal opinion!

Learning How to Bake Mom’s Apple Pie. The Struggle is Real!

The time-honored moniker we’ve all come to know and love – ‘Mom’s Apple Pie’ isn’t just a saying, it’s a fact. We’ve all grown up loving mom’s apple pie. I mean I think we’d each agree that our own, specific, individual mothers bake the most delicious, uniquely tasting apple pie in the world. So, its natural that at some point in time, we’re going to want to learn this most secret and difficult of recipes to pass along from generation to generation. For me, that time is now.

I have attempted to bake my mom’s apple pie recipe no less than 10 times and out of the ten times I think I have come very, very close on 2, maybe 3 occasions. At first I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going wrong in the recipe as the ‘juice’ seemed a bit to watery. After some trial and error, adding more of this and taking away some of that, I narrowed down the culprit.

Mom's Apple Pie

Too much sugar. So I subtracted from the amount of sugar my mother initially told me to use (after all, the pie dish I was using was smaller than my mother typically used). This was more of a delicate matter than I had anticipated, as I whipped up multiple iterations of my mother’s pie design each week.

Consistency is what I strove for. Consistency and the capability of being able to bake this pie with referencing instruction but by pure instinct and knowledge.

Needless to say, I am very nearly there, though not completely comfortable at revealing the recipe and process just yet. A few more attempts me thinks! Stay tuned…

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Sed dictum facilisis elit, consectetur tempus ipsum hendrerit at. Vestibulum ullamcorper justo in nunc suscipit lacinia. Suspendisse quis odio nibh. Suspendisse vel ligula nunc. Mauris sed arcu eu lorem gravida porta et nec elit. Curabitur condimentum suscipit luctus. Nam felis elit, laoreet vitae mollis nec, vehicula at nulla. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Praesent condimentum facilisis dolor sit amet accumsan. Duis sagittis metus et elit scelerisque volutpat. Nullam rutrum, eros ac imperdiet fringilla, est augue luctus velit, in interdum purus enim in nisl. Sed scelerisque, magna a vehicula mattis, nulla lacus euismod urna, in tristique orci lectus id dui. Praesent sit amet ipsum felis. Duis at ipsum mi. Quisque ultricies mauris sed mi bibendum eleifend. Quisque tempus mi sed orci condimentum sed congue velit venenatis.

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Aenean et urna urna, sed varius augue. Aenean a elit lorem, id aliquet lacus. Integer semper, leo a varius euismod, nulla neque fermentum eros, ut faucibus arcu sem a mi. Nam adipiscing sapien at sem condimentum sed eleifend urna suscipit. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Pellentesque ac mauris non diam gravida sagittis. Cras eu eros diam, quis suscipit justo. Ut in orci turpis. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Donec eget dui arcu, in viverra arcu. Proin fermentum, arcu in facilisis pulvinar, sem urna dignissim justo, sed volutpat neque enim vitae velit. In odio lectus, facilisis in adipiscing quis, facilisis vitae tortor. Praesent sodales, felis vel hendrerit aliquam, erat turpis aliquam mauris, vel dignissim lectus nulla eu lacus. Phasellus hendrerit malesuada nulla, id malesuada magna commodo dignissim. Curabitur ipsum massa, eleifend sed egestas nec, mollis quis nisl. Pellentesque egestas sapien eget lectus laoreet cursus in in ligula.

Duis non arcu massa. Quisque interdum dui sit amet urna venenatis ut sodales magna volutpat. Vivamus lectus diam, faucibus id pharetra et, eleifend non tortor. Duis tempor aliquet turpis vitae mollis. Sed ultricies viverra quam sit amet suscipit. Integer vitae metus condimentum neque ultricies tincidunt. Cras lorem lorem, pellentesque et facilisis eu, fringilla eu urna. Nam ultricies mi ut turpis dictum tristique. Integer consequat lectus at mi ornare a venenatis felis dictum. Nunc ornare diam non justo congue nec varius sapien gravida. Integer a dui magna, nec semper nibh. Cras dui ligula, commodo eu vestibulum sit amet, lacinia nec nisi. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Duis id dolor leo, a dignissim tortor. Suspendisse blandit, libero sit amet sollicitudin volutpat, nulla tortor lobortis magna, aliquet pretium lectus elit eu risus. In hac habitasse platea dictumst.

Vivamus at velit vitae nunc elementum tempus dignissim ut nulla. Ut iaculis hendrerit dapibus. Duis elementum mauris vulputate purus lobortis non tincidunt dui venenatis. In sed felis odio. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Aliquam convallis urna vel justo mattis porta. Suspendisse porta faucibus eros, vel dapibus erat elementum in. Duis semper laoreet justo vel dictum.

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Praesent id velit vitae tellus viverra imperdiet. Duis in arcu massa. Vestibulum turpis sapien, accumsan a vestibulum et, cursus tempor odio. Nullam velit ante, bibendum sit amet volutpat vel, porttitor vitae risus. Vestibulum fermentum blandit eros, vel sagittis enim commodo at. Maecenas non ligula nec felis auctor blandit. Vivamus volutpat neque nec enim sodales laoreet. In rhoncus, mi quis venenatis viverra, enim sem vulputate dui, sollicitudin faucibus dui lorem a eros. Donec quis ornare mauris. Sed enim ante, adipiscing a tristique eu, tempus sit amet tortor. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;

Vestibulum vitae velit augue. Pellentesque sed dolor non est laoreet gravida. Morbi congue iaculis consequat. Vestibulum libero lectus, luctus pretium feugiat sit amet, mollis ut sem. Vestibulum leo nisl, facilisis sit amet pharetra vel, malesuada ut orci. Sed fringilla egestas volutpat. Donec viverra eros et nisl sagittis sagittis. Nulla hendrerit malesuada interdum. Cras vulputate blandit quam quis blandit. Suspendisse nec laoreet nunc. Pellentesque et sem eu sem luctus pretium id ut nibh. Sed vitae iaculis lorem. Sed vitae dolor et velit gravida ullamcorper.

Phasellus blandit congue vulputate. Integer in vestibulum nisl. Cras dictum sollicitudin nunc id gravida. Quisque imperdiet vestibulum metus vel fringilla. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec molestie ullamcorper velit, dapibus convallis nulla suscipit vitae. Curabitur vel sem nisi, nec volutpat lorem. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc placerat volutpat elit dapibus porta.

Mauris viverra consequat diam sit amet viverra. Aenean nec egestas sapien. Donec facilisis venenatis velit non placerat. Nam condimentum nunc bibendum sapien convallis tempus. In imperdiet, velit ut convallis pulvinar, sem metus ornare massa, non porttitor ante lectus et odio. Quisque sapien urna, facilisis id feugiat interdum, posuere ac arcu. Curabitur a enim a massa molestie malesuada. Proin luctus nibh ac mauris accumsan vel auctor lacus pharetra. Praesent lectus odio, tristique non commodo et, ultrices mattis lectus.

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Morbi diam lorem, pretium vel luctus ut, venenatis non diam. Duis fringilla sem quis nisi bibendum at feugiat ligula volutpat. Donec id magna in est molestie ornare a gravida lectus. Pellentesque a quam nec leo gravida tincidunt vitae in tortor. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Integer vel velit tellus, sit amet vestibulum urna. Integer vel eros ut ipsum sodales interdum cursus vel nisi. Pellentesque sed feugiat erat. Nullam sit amet velit lorem. Donec faucibus elit non mauris vulputate at ultricies sem aliquet. Sed sed sem erat, sed hendrerit est.

In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Nam id erat urna, ut elementum ante. Sed non libero magna. Aliquam quis nisi sit amet lacus porta mattis quis a nisi. Donec vitae urna nec risus ultrices tincidunt. Fusce ligula neque, imperdiet quis elementum ut, sodales id ipsum. Curabitur ullamcorper malesuada nisl ut blandit.