If the dulcet strains of this viral video from Tuesday haven't already tipped you off, today is Julia Child's centennial. Child never met a glob of butterfat or fresh baked-good she didn't like, and I can empathize: I am much too interested in bakeries and baking for my own good. When my arteries clog, it will be because of the butter in a scone or croissant or piece of coffee cake. The only thing that saves me from utter self-destruction is being picky about where my treats come from: I only want fresh, homemade, and the best. Which is why I rejoiced when I found the SoNo Baking Company. It's based in South Norwalk, Conn., but the owner, John Barricelli, comes to the New Haven farmers market every Saturday morning. For him, this means getting up at 3 am. For me, it means happiness with my coffee.
John and I have gotten to be friends, because he's that kind of guy, and it took me a while to figure out that he is actually not just my personal discovery but baking royalty: Trained with top pastry chefs in New York and Paris, worked for years at Martha Stewart's magazine and TV show, hosted the PBS show Everyday Baking. John's first cookbook was a hit, and now he has a second one coming out, The Seasonal Baker, which is as mouth-watering as I could ask for. Thumbing through it, I'm seeing that I could make some of my favorite SoNo concoctions at home, all by myself. John chose mostly no-fuss recipes, his instructions are well-written and clear, and like me, he loves to cook with buttermilk. I am going to start with the banana-chocolate chip kugelhopf and the blueberry crumb cake. Actually, what I really want to do is spend a day with John in the kitchen, learning. Slate field trip?