When I was a child in the 1950’s, our small town did not have a bakery. Therefore, one of the highlights of a shopping trip to a larger place — we often drove about 25 miles to a sizable town just across the Mississippi River — was a visit to the bakery.
My father liked the French bread in the long, narrow loaf with lots of crust. Depending on the day of the week, we often purchased a stick. (Yes, today I know them as baguettes — but we were neither French nor sophisticated.)
A loaf of Swedish limpa, rich, dark, and round, sometimes came home with us. Potato bread, looking very much like mother’s home-made bread was also an occasional purchase.
Decorated cakes and cookies in the glass case with Danish pastries always deserved a long look. “May we get Long Johns?”
Scents of frosting, fruit, and yeast filled the air and competed with the verbal exchanges of customers and clerks. And a little magic the first time I watched an entire loaf of bread go through the slicer — WOW! That’s how they get the slices even.
When writing about a baker living a century prior to my bakery visits — I skipped the decorated cakes and cookies and concentrated on wheat bread, rye bread, fruit Kuechen, and cinnamon rolls/buns. This apricot Kuechen, baked in a modern oven may have been a special treat on the table in fictional Elm Ridge, Illinois.
New Dreams, a sweet romance set in 1851, introduces the reader to Louisa and Hans. She’s a baker. And he’s…well, it’s complicated. Check out the book at your favorite on-line retailer. Official release date is March 22! Available for pre-order now.