Some might say it’s not possible, but I like to think that I was born a foodie. My earliest memories involve sitting in my backyard eating the organic cherry tomatoes that my parents grew every summer right off the vine. My mother played an important role in inspiring my love and appreciation for food. She received a copy of “Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake Off” as a wedding gift in 1965. As soon as I could read at the age of 5, the cookbook quickly became my favorite book. I remember sitting on the bar stool on the counter where my mother baked and being awe of how she could follow the recipes and make food look just like it did in the cookbook picture. I baked my first cake from scratch at the age of six and by age 12, I baked my own birthday cake to serve 12 guests.
Writing about my love of the taste, texture and smell of food grew out of my love of cookbooks and cooking. Over the years, I have amassed a collection of more than 100 cookbooks, which I use daily as inspiration for writing and cooking. Culinary school also played a significant role in developing my foodie tendencies. From the time I entered my first culinary arts class, I knew how was home. No longer did I feel like I my passion was unusual, for I was among others who were equally as passionate about food. Today, my culinary interests span the globe and I am currently traveling throughout Morocco documenting regional family favorite recipes.
Although I’ve traveled the world tasting the many culinary delights that the world has to offer, my favorite recipe from childhood remains Pillsbury’s “Best of the Bake Off” French baguette recipe, a recipe my mother made weekly. Of all the complex dishes she made, nothing was more satisfying than coming home from school and smelling fresh bread baking in the oven, not to mention slipping a hot piece of French bread smeared with butter into my mouth. I committed the recipe to memory early on, because knowing how to make French baguettes became the measure by which I determined if I could ever become a master of fine food like my mother.
French Baguette Recipe
Source: Pillsbury Best of the Bake Off Cookbook, 1965
In a mixing bowl blend:
2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp of butter
2 packets of bread yeast
Let the yeast rise in the warm water for 10 minutes.
Add 5 cups all purpose flour to the yeast and mix well.
Dash flour on your counter surface and knead the bread. Return kneaded bread to mixing bowl, cover it with a clean towel and and let it rise for one hour.
Form three baguette loaves and place the loaves to rise on a oiled baking sheet. Let the loaves rise for one hour.
Brush loaves with liquid egg whites before placing them in the oven.
Bake the loaves in the oven for 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 15 minutes.
Transfer fresh baked baguettes to baking sheets.
Slice bread with a serrated knife and serve warm with butter.