November 16, 2012

Baking at the Emporium

After a little bit of a break over the summer, I held my first workshop of the (rainy) season a couple of weeks ago at the Homesteader's Emporium on East Hastings in Vancouver. I say "I held", because Lisa, who is my helper and my inspiration when it comes to our "academic" endeavours, is for the time being (and for a little while longer) still in Germany. Alas, such are the crosses we all have to bear!

Rick and I had been talking about a bread baking class at his place for quite a while, and on November 4, we finally were able to fit one in our oh-so-busy schedules. The workshop went extremely well, we all had some very good interactions, we learned a thing or two, and, above all, we had lots of fun. In fact, what struck me (and what I so easily tend to forget sometimes), is how much fun these workshops always are for us. If there is something I miss from my bakery days, it's the interactions I had with my customers: the chats, the discussions, and even the heated debates that would sometimes ensue. I (and we) get some of that back when we teach our workshops, and it is heartwarming to see how much people enjoy taking these classes, and afterwards sending us photos of their loaves, staying in touch, reading this blog, etc.

We are going to try to stay active on that front throughout this fall and winter, and hopefully into the late spring. In the next little while, we are looking forward to a series of four beginners workshops at UBC Farm (on November 21, December 13, January 23, and February 20), with three more to follow in the spring, when we plan to do at least one advanced workshop.

I would like to finish by thanking Shannon, Nicole, and Elton for sending me photos of their baked loaves (Can you believe those beauties?) and allowing me to share them with everyone. A special thank you also goes to Erin, who has had some very kind words about my workshop on her own blog (Erin at Large). I really like the part where she calls me "unfussy".

And finally, a very special tip of the hat to Rick Havlak the owner of the Homesteader's Emporium. I met Rick last year, when he was still in the process of opening his shop. He was on a quest to take as many homesteading workshops as he could in as short a time as humanly possible. At least that was my impression of him. In the meantime, he has opened his place at 649 East Hastings Street, and he's become an expert in many of the activities that he is selling supplies and materials for. He has also become a magnet for the community he lives in, and people sometimes drive across town to buy his wares. Give his place a try, if you live in Vancouver, for anything from baking tools, to cheese-making supplies, to advice and know-how on bee- and chicken-keeping.

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