Tuesday, July 16, 2013


You may have noticed the lack of output from Picnic Bakery over the past few months.  Let me tell you why:

1.  Our new house looks like this:
(If you didn't already know, the house is a fixer that we are doing mostly by ourselves. Also, when I say "ourselves," I really mean "Ralph" because everyone knows I shouldn't be allowed to touch power tools unless the aim is to destroy something).

The temporary shower.  A la Dexter's kill-room

We are still waiting for electric updates.  The gas cook top works, but no oven yet.  Notice the orange cable that I move around the room to plug in appliances as I need them.  Ralph built the temporary shelving and worktops so we can have some function until he has time to build proper ones.

You can't miss the gaping holes in the walls.  There are parts of the house where you can see the outside from the inside where one normally shouldn't be able to.  It doesn't make me think about spiders at all.  
When we first moved in, we lived for two weeks without electricity, a bathroom, or a kitchen.  Fortunately, we managed to get by with a temporary sink Ralph made out of the taps for the washing machine and a bucket.  We made use of some battery-operated lanterns, borrowed showers at friend's houses, and did a lot of restaurant dining.  It wasn't so bad.  It was a lot like camping.  We got to act out my life-long dream of becoming a squatter in Berkeley.  I am totally the girlfriend you want to have during the zombie apocalypse.  Seriously, Ralph should marry me because we all know it's coming.

2.  On week two without electricity, we adopted Lillie:

Lillie, our Portuguese Water puppy

She may be cute, but she's hell on wheels.  She skipped childhood (except the bed-wetting part) and went straight into behaving like a teenager.  She even talks back when I tell her "no."  I have lost a lot of sleep and a lot of knickers to this little fur monster.  She's lucky she's so cute when she's sleepy.

3.  This stuff has been getting to me:

Lately, my sensitivity to gluten has caused me a lot of grief on baking days.  My reactions to gluten are thankfully a lot less severe than many people experience, but I was still getting mildly to moderately sick every single time I worked with flour.

4.  As a result of all of the above mentioned items, I have had a little bit of a melt-down in the motivation department.  My business has been going through an identity crisis.  Of course I want to keep making the recipes I worked so hard to develop, but they make me sick!  And it's hard to feed something to other people when it makes you feel unwell.  Something just feels intrinsically wrong with feeding people what your body tells you is poison.  Plus, there are so many people out there who suffer like I do.  I know how exciting it can be when you go someplace and discover they offer a gluten-free option.  An option.  Usually only one.  And it absolutely makes your day that someone was thinking about you.  You feel like you were just presented with a feast when you're handed a single gluten-free cookie.  And it's always so exciting to know there is one more dining facility where you can meet a friend and not "just have a drink, or something."

SO...after a lot of deliberation, I've finally arrived at a decision.  I'm shutting the imaginary doors of Picnic Bakery for a few months while I work from my (soon to be more complete) home test kitchen.  I'm going to get back to one of my favourite things:  recipe development.  Oh, look out you rock and rollers!  Picnic Bakery will be re-opening this fall as a gluten-free bakery.  I will keep you posted on my progress, share my successes and failures, and maybe even slip you a recipe or two.