Ultimate Friday Giveaway

Been baking all week

My daughter requested a loaf of French bread for her birthday.

That was Tuesday…

My husband wanted to take another giant loaf of sourdough to Renato, the owner of his favorite coffee spot, Via Maestra, but this time not force him to eat it. Here it is below, before it took the short trip from our home to the coffee shop down the road. (See this post–A Tribute to Community–for the earlier story)

That was Wednesday, and here it is on display in Via Maestra 🙂

And Friday turned into Ultimate Bread Giveaway Day. I needed to drive my daughter to LA; she was invited to spend the weekend with her cousins. My brother, whose bakery now has all the health certificates you could ever ask for, will begin delivering bread to customers on Tuesday. They’ve been baking up a storm these last two months, with no one to eat all the product, so it just ends up everywhere–mostly given to the mayor of Hawthorne where the bakery is–who then takes it to the city’s soup kitchen and homeless shelter. When my brother showed up at his house with two giant bags of the most gorgeous sourdough, I was happy to take a loaf, or seven!

I then gave out three loaves at my son’s school. Gave one loaf to a lady walking down the street, and we’re eating a giant loaf of rye right now…Just had an avocado and roasted red pepper sandwich. Here’s a photo of some of the amazing loaves of bread coming out of Etxea Bakery.

I still haven’t given any bread to the triplets down the way.

Oh, oh…. and my daughter helped me gather some sea water at Butterfly Beach. We’re going to make our very own Santa Barbara sea salt. More posts on that as we progress, but until then, three cheers for Madeleine who braved some very, very cold water to humor her wacky mother.

Okay everyone, that’s my bread giving week. Let’s just keep chugging along together, giving to others as we can. I’d love to hear your stories…



A Tribute to Community

One giant pain a la Suzanne. Came out so beautifully yet again!

Mixed: 5:30 pm Tuesday

Folded: 10:10 am Wednesday

Molded: 10:30 am

Baked 1:15 pm

Gave to: Renato–owner of Via Maestra 42

My husband works from home. He has been without a company cubicle, office politics and a commute for over ten years. He spends most of his day with a headset on, jabbering on the phone; I love it–he’s like a farmer who heads out ten paces to the fields in the morning, and comes in for lunch, and dinner. It’s a huge blessing to have him around. (Like when I desperately need someone to turn the oven on for pre-heating, but am on the other side of town!)

But being at home, surrounded by finches, doesn’t provide a lot of intellectual or friendly stimulation, even for those who prefer the hermit-side of things. So my husband found a happy solution. Every morning he walks out of the neighborhood and into the big-wide world of Santa Barbara to hang out at his favorite haunt: Via Maestra 42, a little coffee shop cafe owned by an always-smiling and big-hearted, Renato Moiso.

It being Christmas and all, my husband wanted to take a loaf of bread over to Renato and his crew. I happily got to mixing and folding and molding and sent him over as delivery man yesterday with the giant hot loaf of my new favorite sourdough mix.

But much to my surprise, Renato liked the loaf so much that he put it on display! I was stunned when my husband recounted the story. Who wouldn’t want to eat that hot loaf of bread? I’ve lived in Italy–I should have known. Most any Italian would first want to show it off, so that it might be talked about…

…then consumed. Sharing is one of the Italian’s most famous virtues. My loaf became yet another symbol of love for your community…

My husband headed over for coffee again this morning. I’m wondering if the bread ever went home to someone’s table, or if it’s still there, hovering over customers as they order their morning cappuccinos. I won’t ask. I love my husband, and Renato and the staff of Via Maestra too much. It simply doesn’t matter. I’m so grateful for this place where my husband blends in and converses with real, not virtual, people.

What about you? Do you have favorite haunts who welcome you like family–who might even prop your bread up on a stand and display it for an afternoon or two? (Or more… :))