Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

Yesterday I wrote about the new Bread tome called Modernist Bread and asked if anyone had any pull at the public library.  (Well, or with Santa Claus too.)

I sent a similar question to my Backyard Bakery buddies and it turns out that one of the Bread Buddies does in fact work at the library and close to the circulation department no less!

So the RPL is ordering a set of books for their collection.  Yippee!

No doubt they’ll be reference material, for in library use only, but I’ll gladly spend a few afternoons checking them out.  And with their excellent province wide circulation system, my baking friends in Saskatoon will be able to use them too.

So the moral of the story is to actually ask for what you want, out loud.  Good things can happen.

And if you bake, make sure your librarians have access to your bread.

Now, if I could only do that with my podcast!



My Christmas List

According to my mailbox and the 25 pounds of flyers I received last week, it is officially Christmas Season.  Time to string up the lights (we string ours indoors because I’m scared of heights) and go hunting for a tree (conifer preferred.)

So I guess it’s not too early to publish my Christmas List.

This year is easy.  A book.  A Bread Book.

OK, it’s a 6 volume, 2600 page, $550 bread book, but still…

It’s called Modernist Bread: Art and Science.  It’s also legitimately a tome.

I don’t know too much about the author, other than he’s a former Microsoft employee who is more than rich enough to nerd out on food.  Or in the case of this book, bread.

I read an article on the author / book today and the books seem really interesting.  One entire volume is about the farmer-miller-baker supply chain, which I find fascinating.

So if you have any pull with the Big Guy – either Mr. Claus or the Head of Circulation at Regina Public Library – please put in a good word for me.

Photo via

More on Shipping

With Cindy and Ben working and Robyn in Calgary, this Sunday was actually a good time to keep working on my next project. I thrashed for an hour or two before I had to stop and figure out what was bugging me.

Often times I get so eager to get moving forward that I start in the middle and start writing. That’s fine up to a point but sooner or later I need to step back and reset.

That’s where the Shipit Journal comes in.

Seth created the journal several years ago as a way to document the fears around projects right at the start, so you could call them out and then deal with them. It’s also a good way to look at your project from several angles so that you can identify everything that needs doing.

In my case, I was starting the ‘doing’ without really identifying all the pieces that needed to get done. So my head was full of ideas for other stages of the project. And a cluttered mind doesn’t do great work.

So I took an hour and filled in the Shipit Journal from front to back. It was well worth it – even though this is a solo project, I was able to identify several areas where I could get some outside help. Plus, I wrote down all the areas of the project that needed good planning and design, from the pre-launch through to finding sponsors and partners. All in one little booklet.

Back in the day, Seth made these booklets in 5 packs so your whole team could fill them in. But they are out of print. I was lucky to get a paper copy as part of my altMBA package, which is photocopiable. (new word!)

There’s also a free PDF version online, which is what I used. I still can’t bring myself to write in a book. Sigh…

Remembrance Day

It’s the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day in World War I. Too long ago to have surviving veterans, but not too long to go without remembering their efforts.


Cindy and I went down to the Cenotaph for the wreath laying ceremony, like we do every year. And as in most years, there were several hundred people braving the snow and cold to pay respect to our veterans and hope for lasting peace.


Each year, I get a little more conflicted by the ceremony. Not conflicted by why I’m there, but conflicted by the ceremony itself.


As our society changes and gets more inclusive, following the pattern of a Christian church service seems more and more out of place. How do the Sikh’s (who fought and who laid a wreath) feel about all the Jesus references, for example.  Or the Muslims who’s ancestors also fought in the World Wars? Can I be an atheist or a Buddhist or a Hindu and still feel a core part of the ceremony?


Now, to their credit, the Legion ceremony has changed quite a bit over the years. But things seem to have been taken out andm not replaced. So the entire event seems shorter each year, which is a shame, even in the snow and cold.


It would be great if we could honour our war veterans on this day and also pledge to work for peace and understanding throughout the world. To invite all groups to lay a wreath, including First Nations, LGBT veterans, all religions and immigrant groups. So we can all say ‘Thank You’, ‘We Remember’ and ‘Never, Ever Again.’


The ceremony talks a lot about how our veterans defended freedom. I’m all for that. And to me, freedom means diversity. We need more of that too.


I’ve been trying really hard to be generous with the backyard bakery.  Making extra large loaves, being accommodating around special requests and the like.

But sometimes I’m my own worst enemy.   Take this week for example.

I opted out of baking on Saturday because that’s Remembrance Day.  I don’t want to be working that day – it’s a day for veterans and for peace.  So I moved the second bake day to Sunday instead.

The only thing is, nobody was ordering for Sunday.  Maybe 20 loaves total, spread across 5 kinds.  4 Seeded Rye.  2 Pain de Campagne.  1 demi baguette.

It’s crazy.  It’s a waste of wood to get the brick oven hot for 3 half bakes.  And how do I even mix a single 300g baguette?

So I cancelled Sunday’s bake, but offered to bake the bread on Friday along with the Friday orders.  Friday wasn’t so big; one extra bake will cover it.

But I forgot about the varieties.

I’m off to bed early tonight, because tomorrow I have 10 mixes to do.  Granted, some are quite small (those 10 mixes will cover 5 bakes) but it’s going to be a pretty hairy day to keep everything straight and hopefully have everything proof at a predictable rate.

But you know what?  That’s the point of the whole project.  To be generous.  To go the extra mile for people.  So I’m not complaining, even a little bit.

I don’t want to waste wood (hence cancelling Sunday) but I also won’t disappoint my bread buddies.  So I’ve made good notes, double checked all the labels on my little preferment containers and will give it an honest go in the morning.

I’ll keep you posted…