Hey there! If you’ve found your way here via Yes and Yes, an extra-special welcome to you. Please enjoy Bitter Butter: The Unsweet History of Pastries!
Why Start Here?
Most sites that have a “Start Here” page have been running for years, with an archive of approximately a billion posts. On those sites, the “Start Here” page helps guide overwhelmed visitors through the muck to the site’s best stuff.
As you’ll soon see (if you haven’t already), my blog is currently less of a sprawling forest and more a happy little gathering of trees, freshly planted behind my house. You don’t need a map or a flashlight–there’s no danger of you getting lost.
So instead, this “Start Here” is an invitation to get in on the ground floor. Have you ever had the thrill of following a blog from its first few posts, and then slowly watching them grow and succeed? I’m just sayin’…that could be us. (Imagine me winking, but in, like, a friendly and charming way.)
Point being, you’re the first group to arrive at the party. So come in and hang out awhile! You’ve got first pick of the cheese plate, dibs on your favorite cocktail, and you get to watch the magic of a fairly-quiet apartment as it slowly transforms into an awesome night of dancing.
Okay, but what is this blog? And why are you writing it?
I go into more detail on my “About” page, but the gist is this:
To me, pastries are fundamental to humanity. You might read that and think, “C’mon, that’s a little cheesy. You’re definitely exaggerating.” I’m not. I promise.
I would never say (or think!) that pastries are more important than, say, medicine or housing or education. But in the same way humans have been making music for millennia, so we have been eating dessert for millennia. The ability to make and enjoy an edible treat that only exists to delight seems (to me) to be at the heart of what it is to be a human.
Pastries fascinate me. I want to know about their journeys through cultures, within cultures, and across the world. I want to know about the hands and hearts and minds that dreamed them up, baked them, sold them, traded them, passed them down.
And–important–I wouldn’t be writing this blog if all this information were readily available.
If this section made your heart flutter a little, you can…
Start Reading Here
- Who Really Invented Puff Pastry? In other words–who the eff is Claudius Gele, and why did he (probably) not exist?
- Rich Man’s Pie–or, more accurately, how did this flour/nutmeg/milk pie get so optimistic?
- Traditional Chinese Pastry Isn’t Baked–so what’s the deal with Chinatown “bakeries”?
1. Sign up for my e-newsletter, “The Leftovers,” by clicking here!
For every post, there’s a LOT of research that ends up on the cutting room floor, but I save the best-cut stuff for your newsletter. Plus, you’ll get sneak peeks at blog posts coming down the pike. Expect it once a week, on sleepy Sunday mornings. (It pairs well with coffee.)
You’ll get updates every time I release a new post, and other (typically) food-related updates about my life.
Most of my waking hours these days are spent 1) at a food museum 2) in the library, looking at old cookbooks, or 3) doing food history research online. When I’m chilling out, I’m generally cooking, baking, or casually paging through beautiful new cookbooks (most recently, “Dining In” and “Salad for President”).
So odds are, when I post something, Food Will Be Involved.
And if you love something, let me know!
Now get comfortable, let me take your coat, and I’ll grab the pie out of the oven in a few minutes. I’m so glad you’re here.