Three things from Canada

Three things we brought home from Canada last summer have been keeping us going right into this beautiful spring.

1.  The Bread Bible.

I must confess to a new hobby these past couple of years: baking bread.  I kind of stumbled into it, but now I’m hooked.

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.

11 Responses to “Three things from Canada”

  1. April 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I know what you mean! I’m going to have to take orders from family and friends who are coming this summer for my wedding, because I don’t think I’ll be able to make it over there to the States this year. I’m sure Canadians and Americans have some different opinions about real maple syrup, but it’s definitely something I miss here, too. It’s far too expensive here!

    And that bread box thingy – it’s funny, we just inherited a round metal bread box from my fiancé’s grandparents. It’s cool, but we don’t actually keep bread in it…

  2. April 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Note to readers: Ian makes sensational bread. We’re pining for it since the last slices, carefully preserved in our freezer, met their fate in the toaster some days ago.

  3. April 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    French toast made from homemade bread and real maple syrup – heaven! As I was scrolling down, I knew what number three was before I got past the cap – for some of us, those jugs are unmistakable.

    Oh – and that business about there being no word in English that rhymes with “purple” is wrong. I still remember and will recite the poem learned at my family’s dinner table: “Roses are red, violets are purple, I love you more than sweet maple surple.” 😉

  4. 5 Tricia
    April 26, 2012 at 3:04 am

    I am SOOOO looking forward to tasting your pain perdu with maple syrup and extra butter. Can’t wait!

  5. April 27, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Yes, us Canucks take our home grown maple syrup for granted. You really feel the absence of local maple syrup in British Columbia and Alberta. Have to wander over to Ontario, Quebec.

  6. May 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Aldi had maple syrup occasionally and at reasonable prices. How did you get that volume of syrup through security?

    • May 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Hello Indie! Nice to see you back at this dusty ol’ blog.🙂

      I guess I could stock up at Aldi when it appears, but there’s no problem taking it from Canada. At least I’ve never had a problem. I just duct tape up the tops of the jugs and pack them snugly, and always in checked luggage.

  7. May 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I bet the baggage inspectors take a long hard look at those bottles on the x ray machine

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The banner photograph shows the town of Britannia Beach, BC, Canada, where I grew up. It's home. But I don't live there anymore.

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