“If You Know…You Know”

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There are times when I know deep down inside that I’ve just walked through the threshold of something that only a select percentage of people will ever experience.  This is partly due to the hush hush, mysterious workings that encompass such a phenomenon and then also partly due to timing.  You see, I truly believe that with each tick of the second hand, this secretive, “underground” speakeasy becomes more prominent and visible as the name escapes through the lips of one of those that knows along to one of those that doesn’t.

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When I first joined the social network group, I wasn’t really sure what it was all about or even why I cared.  All I really knew was that I needed to hop on for the ride.  I’ve always been a thrill seeker, curious about all the fuss.  I just never realized it would be to score a loaf of bread.  At first I sat back and perused the volumes of chitter chatter brought on by the brain washed clan that seemed to have a language all their own.  But as time passed, I realized, I too had started adding to the gab.  Instead of “them” it was now “we” and before I knew it I was setting my alarm clock and staring unblinkingly into my computer screen longing to be one of the select few to be blessed with the Holy Grail of sourdough bread.

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As I reflect on the whole process, I must say, although Mama never made homemade bread and I have no definite story to relate to this; what I do know is, she would have LOVED every minute of it.  Being one of the select few that was “in the know” would have thrilled her.  Mama was adventurous that way and had no fear when it came to experiencing all that life had to offer.  I feel certain that she would have not only become best friends with the illustrious baker, but would have been welcomed into the kitchen and served up some bread and wine.  That’s just how she was.

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By now some of you might just be wondering where this place is that I speak of.  Prepare, because…”if you know, you know”…and it will alter just how much you’re willing to sample just a morsel.  You must be committed, persistent, and even a bit insane, to conquer the challenge of seeking a loaf of your own.  But I promise that if you stay focused and are finally allowed the indulgence of this delicious bread, handcrafted by Scott Ervin in his underground hideaway, “The Speakeasy Bakery,” you will not regret it.  The experience alone is worth it; but the fact that the bread is incredible, and a true work of passion, is the real hidden gem.

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Mmmm, Mmmmm, Good!!

D.W. Cookie Co Chocolate Chip

Yesterday, I visited a local cookie store in our area, The D.W. Cookie Co., and was instantly transported into one of my Mama memories.  As far back as I can remember, Mama always allowed us to help out in the kitchen.  At first it was in small ways, like stirring the batter, or handing her things she might need for a recipe.  Later, it transformed into a much more involved experience.  Our kitchen had an open door policy at all times.  That is not to imply that we were allowed to just waltz right in and grab anything we wanted.  We were raised knowing that there was a purpose for all things in our house and whatever food we may stumble upon might very well have an ultimate destination on a much grander scale.  All this really meant was that we needed to ask Mama before devouring it. In the overall scheme of things, alone the ingredient may be good; but, in one of Mama’s creations, it was bound to be phenomenal.

That brings me back to the memory that I stumbled upon yesterday.  As I stood in this little independently owned business, tempted by the assortment of delectable, chewy discs displayed in front of me, I recalled my first true experience in our kitchen as “Head Chef.”  I decided I wanted to try my hand at baking and what better way to start than with some ooey gooey chocolate chip goodness?

D.W. Cookie Co. Assortment

Now, Mom had a library of exceptionally tasty cookie treats; but being my new adviser, she decided a classic chocolate chip concoction would be an appropriate beginner challenge.  What I loved most about cooking with Mom was the ease with which she managed to do everything.  She allowed us to make mistakes without getting overly excited.  I think this is a true sign of not only an experienced cook, but one of an amazing teacher.  She never approached cooking as if there was only one certain way it could be done.  So as I journeyed through the process of making my first batch of cookies, I was coaxed, allowed to err, encouraged to ask questions, and ultimately guided with the compassion of someone who had a deep love of cooking and baking.

I remember those cookies were not as perfectly balanced as hers.  And as we nibbled on them, Mom explained what she thought might work better next time.  I love the fact that she allowed me to make mistakes, because that is ultimately how one learns to cook, through experimentation and an understanding that nothing is set in stone.

D.W. Cookie Co. Snickerdoodle

As the years passed, I became quite the little baker and making cookies has always remained one of my absolute favorite things to create.  So yesterday, as I stood in this amazing little store with chocolate dripping from my fingers and smudged on my face, taste buds dancing and angels singing,  I thanked Mama for helping me to develop a true appreciation of the artistry of making cookies.  Because of her, I was able to truly express to the owner and baker, Devar Ward, just how much his skill is admired and his Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie a true work of art.

No worries if chocolate chip is not your favorite.  He’s got plenty of delicious combinations to choose from at his store, The D. W. Cookie Co. in Canyon Country, California.  What I will say is….you must go and try them!  It’s like all the delicious goodness of childhood rolled up in one round, delightful, sinfully good bite!

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