Three things we brought home from Canada last summer have been keeping us going right into this beautiful spring.
1. The Bread Bible.
At a bookstore in West Vancouver I found The Bread Bible and thought: I don’t care if it weighs a tonne and we’re already at our limit, I’m going to buy it. This book gets into the science of baking and introduces refined techniques I’d never heard of before. Most importantly, all measurements are laid out both by volume and weight in metric down to the last gram – perhaps unique in an American cookbook. I love it.
About that photo: At left is an old-style metal bread container often seen in German kitchens. At right is a grain mill into which I pour the raw wheat just before mixing the dough. It’s nearly 20 years old and in perfect shape. That bread beside it is my latest variation on a Bread Bible recipe.
2. The Ortofon OM30 stylus.
If the Bread Bible triggered overweight baggage alarms at the check-in desk and a quick bag re-shuffle, at a few micrograms worth of retro technology the Ortofon OM30 stylus tucked away in my hand luggage would almost have gone un-noticed had I not been sitting in glorious anticipation of countless hours of vinyl enjoyment to come.
Hanging at the end of my tonearm since the day we got back, it’s been digging out tones from my record grooves I never knew existed. Right away I noticed the difference from my old stylus, an OM20. Designed and made in neighbouring Denmark, why did I wait to buy the upgrade in Canada? Because hunting around before leaving I discovered that in Canada you can pick it up in a store for less than you can find it online in Germany. Why that is, I haven’t bothered to look into, so busy I’ve been enjoying my record collection anew. If you love the rich, textured feel of the sound spilling from your speakers that only vinyl can give you, or are looking to join the growing movement away from CDs and MP3s and back to vinyl, the best advice I can offer is to start with a decent turntable, then get the best stylus you can afford. It makes such a difference.
3. Six litres of maple syrup.
It’s only been nine months, and we’re on our last bottle already. Damn. That’s the real reason I’m headed back in June, you know.