Thing #25 – Wine Bread

I didn’t go to church on Easter. I never go to church on Easter. I never go to church, period. My grandmothers probably wouldn’t be pumped to learn this. However, I hope they would be pleased to know I found a different way to maintain Easter traditions. I baked what we call “wine bread” in our family. It’s a filled Danish-style pastry, and has nothing to do with wine. I don’t know why it has that name. Grandma’s recipe was titled, “Kringle” but had a handwritten note in the corner indicating it’s for winebread.

As everyone knows, Kringle is the magical ring of pastry deliciousness from Racine, Wisconsin. I assume you know this. Or maybe it was a fact tossed into the fourth-grade Wisconsin history curriculum, like those about cranberry bogs, glaciers and French explorers. Remember that class? Marquette and Joliet? I remember virtually nothing I learned in school, except from this class 30 years ago.

My grandmothers were both spectacular women. And I wish they were still here to talk to. I’d love … Read the rest

An Eclairy Christmas to all

Somewhere along the line, my Christmas spirit has dwindled. The magic of the season doesn’t hit my twinkle receptors like it once did. But one thing adulthood has taught me is sometimes to make it through the day, you have to fake things so hard that you start to believe them. Oh come on…don’t act like you haven’t done this. This is my current Christmas strategy.

At risk of sounding annoyingly pretentious, one place I felt genuinely Christmasy was in France a few years ago. We celebrated Christmas in Paris, but also spent time in Strasbourg – the Christmas Capital of France. While nearly every European city has a Christmas Market, none do it like Strasbourg, where some version of a market has been held for several hundred years. Quick FYI: a Christmas Market is an expansive outdoor festival of food, lights, hot drinks, music, shopping and togetherness. And sometimes a ferris wheel.

Strasbourg is in the Alsace region of France near the German border. Imagine precious, delicate French things and warm, wooly German things … Read the rest

Grab life by the dough balls

“You’re kind of a history buff, aren’t you?” Someone actually said that to me. Never in my life have I been called, nor identified with being, a history buff. I’m not sure I could name one thing I learned in my history classes, and rely heavily on “based on a true story” movies to bridge the wide gaps in the historical timeline in my brain. However, if you’ve only met me in the past six months, you’d think that I must be a huge history nerd given my schoolgirl crush on Lewis and Clark and incessant sharing of lessons I’m learning in my Missouri backyard.

Recently this blog has been more devoted to history and travel than to bakeries and travel. When I sit down to write, I struggle to find a seamless way to integrate the bakery element. And then I get frustrated and give up because it doesn’t fit nicely into the box I created for this blog over two years ago.

Guess what? My life is way different than it was two Read the rest