San Francisco Baking

On a recent trip to San Francisco, my kids and I stumbled across Arizmendi Bakery. The sign immediately caught my eye because the name and the type looked so BASQUE. Not very many Basques around, but I’m one of ’em (well, only a quarter, but that’s plenty!). We popped our heads in the door, inhaled the wonderful aroma of fresh breads and pastries, and even with my camera on the fritz I managed to trick it into taking a single photo of a large banner hanging from the ceiling:

Make Loaves, Not War.

We also ordered a giant cinnamon roll to share. yum.

You know what? It’s not every day that I choose peace over war. I should, I’m trying. It’s a much better occupation to bake a loaf of bread and share it with my family or neighbor than argue with my kids or the guy who cut me off any day.



Hit the Road, Jack

Nineteen days on the road. The first three days we clocked 29 hours of sitting, so I stopped counting hours in the car after that. Five people, in one rented (thankfully large) car,

What did we do?!

Played the Harmonica

Fiddled with Yarn

Really, REALLY Enjoyed Picnicking at the Rest Stops


Were Weird with the Cousins

Stopped at Diners


Looked at the Scenery (and the cows… and the giant buffalo statues…)

Scoped out license plates

Chatted with the Highway Patrolmen

Loaded and Unloaded the Car



We also snacked, and listened to audio books, and Mad drew pictures on her arm, and Andrew sang SO loud–and sometimes all was quiet, and we simply looked out the window at the changing scenery…

If you like details, then here is the tour–Santa Barbara, California to Las Vegas, Nevada to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to Fort Collins, Colorado to Randolf, Nebraska to Keystone, South Dakota to Bozeman, Montana to Goldendale, Washington to Portland, Oregon to Crater Lake National Park to Fort Klamath, Oregon to Lassen Volcanic National Park to San Jose, California–then once again home, to Santa Barbara.

5,244 miles

Many dollars in gasoline

Will we do it again next summer?

No way. That would be pressing our luck–plus, we’re hoping to revisit la sourceand let our sourdough starter soak up some more yeasties from the place of its origin–if we can drum up a few free plane tickets. Anyone with a few free plane tickets?

But that’s then, and this is now, and …we’re HOME!

To the Interior

The plums have been dried, and jammed, and jarred. The house is clean for the guests who will be staying there. My starter is packed, currently cozied in a bag next to the dried apricots and chewing gum.

Southern California is finally bathed in summer sun, and we are off. Off on a mighty tour of our vast American interior to see farming cousins in Nebraska, friends in Montana, nuns in Washington, and colleges in Oregon.
I’ll be knitting in the car, and rooting on my husband as he drives. And maybe I’ll even have a chance to do a bit of baking! Who knows?

Hope you don’t mind if I share my adventures. Typing on my phone will be a welcome distraction once we hit the wide road heading across the West! The ocean is on my right–big and blue and calming, but not for long. Las Vegas here we come…

Sourdough through Security

No mixing, or molding or baking. Or giving today…

I’m flying out to France and all week I’ve been wondering if sourdough starter qualifies as a liquid. I thought about putting a call in to someone at the airlines, but that was just a quick thought. You know what it’s like to call the airlines. Who knows how many people I’d have to talk to before they got to anyone who even knows what sourdough starter is…

Last night I floured up my starter to make it more dough-like. What I’m most worried about is that the yeast might go crazy in the altitude and blow up in my luggage! My ancestors, when they brought it from the Pyrenees over the mountains, across the ocean etc… didn’t have to worry about cabin pressure, did they…


Since we do have a washing machine in the house in France (granted, it’s a bizarre machine that requires 10 green balls to move the clothes around the interior, although we’ve lost a considerable amount of the balls, because when you remove the clothes the balls fling out, too, and bounce all over the floor and under the fridge and such…) anyway, since we do have a washing machine, I figure if the starter does somehow ooze all over, I can just wash the clothes and continue on with life.

I’ll also have a wee bit of starter in my hand luggage, just as a back up.

And the point of bringing the starter is purely nostalgic. I want to recapture some of the home yeasties and bring them back. I want the starter to finally see its birthplace. I want the mother dough to have this opportunity to reconnect with its roots. Aren’t I a nice caretaker? Plus, it’ll be fun.

Okay, wish me safe travels.