Welcome back to our Island. Many things happen here which are difficult to understand. Nobody knows why. Let’s keep it a mystery.
I have no idea why there were no baguettes or focaccia in this country. Not for a long time. Maybe there was a highly specialized store here and there but that was it.
A few years ago, both started appearing on our Island. Started as a quasi-French bakery cart in the street. The cart had fresh flowers around it every day. To our eyes, it looked inviting, charming, exotic.
The baguettes were initially sold as sandwiches. However, very soon we realized that the sandwich components were incidental to the taste of the bread. The taste, you ask? The kind which invokes feelings of exhilaration and happiness; as if everything in one’s life fell into place, all things reconciled and all problems solved. Taste which makes one smile in satisfaction, wakes up senses which have not been disturbed in a long time, brings back happy childhood memories.
The above is exceeded only on days where fresh baked focaccia bread is available. Its smell permeates the neighborhood and magically draws one to the street cart. It reminds one of festivities, parades, and pure happiness. What makes it special for us is that it doesn’t happen every day but rather once a week (but we don’t know which day). So, we wait for it, we hope and anticipate. When it happens it is as if one has won the lottery.
In addition to tasting and smelling good, baguettes and focaccia are very tactile: the softness which completes one’s day and makes for relaxing, reflective moments. Introducing olive oil into the equation brings feelings of singing taste buds. Nothing wrong with introducing a song into one’s day, especially in our climate of rain and fog.
This is why the baguette/focaccia cart has grown into a log cabin which now proudly sits in the center of our little town. A log cabin with multi-color lights where every day is Christmas.
The baker is mysterious, not known or seen by us. No matter, we know that person through the smell and taste they gift to us. We feel that we are inseparable from that person, that we belong.
For a state originally settled/inhabited by lumberjacks and cowboys (while the Island initially hosted farmers) we have come a long way in appreciation of smells and tastes. We are better for it; cowboy ruggedness and farmer persistence having evolved into appreciation of baguettes and focaccia. We are unstoppable.
Mike Djordjevich – firstname.lastname@example.org