With the Citizen’s Co-op Farmer’s Market coming up, and with us coming up with new breads to make for it, it’s gotten me thinking about history and what’s passed along generation to generation. My family is an old baking family. My great grandaddy had a bakery in the mountains of Puerto Rico, and his kids would take the freshly baked bread every morning, first by horse back, later by jeep, to the different surrounding towns and bakeries in them in the early hours of the day. My parents, later, opened a bakery where my dad, who apprenticed in California as a baker, rose before dawn, usually around 2am, to go bake bread every morning. They called it Emiliano’s, after my great grandaddy the original family baker. Later it turned into a restaurant and moved downtown, and expanded, and the rest is, as they say, history. But what I remember is being teeny tiny and sitting on a stool while my dad worked and baked the bread and the pastries of all different sorts. Cinnamon rolls he made out of croissant dough, quesitos, guava puffs, a million kinds of cookies, bear claws…and his famous Pan de Agua. Needless to say, I was a chubby kid. But that kind of this sinks in by osmosis, I think, and then I grew up and while my brother got the restaurant bug, I got the baking one, and now here I am, making bread every Sunday for the market. When I first came to my dad with a freshly baked loaf of my signature (I’ve been told) rosemary bread, I can’t describe the smile on his face. I could see him thinking “Oh, good, it’s being passed on…” and I still feel a sense of joy understanding how it must feel to see such an important tradition continuing.
Now, with the Farmer’s Market coming up, and with Jess and I deciding to change things up a bit and expand, we’re looking into the old pastry recipes, talking to my dad, seeing if he wants to join in and knowing fairly certainly that he won’t be able to help himself. And what I keep thinking is, isn’t it funny how things keep evolving to stay the same. I hope I can get it right. I hope I can make the cinnamon rolls as fluffy as I remember him making them. I hope I can make the quesitos as crisp and salty sweet as I got addicted to as a kid. But I’m pretty sure, if of nothing else, that I’ll have fun learning, with Jess, in my parent’s kitchen on Sunday.
See you then, ya’ll.