An era has come to an end, not because the Daring Bakers have gone away, but because the Queen of the Daring Bakers, Lisa C, shuffled off her mortal coil this week. A sad thing, indeed. She co-founded the baking group and was the den mother who kept it going, kept it open and welcoming, kept it organized, with the assistance of a few willing helpers, and watched it grow from two to about 8, then to 10, to 15, and on to hundreds of bakers both experienced and novice. Eventually it became the Daring Kitchen, there was a blog and blogroll, a few rules and some repetition of skills learned, but it was always fun because Lis was always, always fun and funny. On her blog La Mia Cucina she posted some of the most hilarious posts anywhere, making both her kitchen errors and successes a source of belly laughs and encouragement. I mean, if she could be the Queen and screw up and have fun with it all, surely I could try, too, right?
As a tribute, bloggers across the blogosphere are posting today. Some will make their favorite DB recipe or one that reminds them of Lis. Some will write stories and tell tales to keep her memory alive. Some will tell how being part of the Daring Bakers changed them.Because I've had family visiting since I heard about her death, I'm stealing a little time to do the last.
Being a Daring Baker meant challenging yourself, trying new things, making new friends who also enjoyed baking. At first the group was small enough that we could visit all the blogs on posting day, but eventually there were many dozens.
One of the challenges was for Potato Bread given by Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups. I had never made such a wet bread dough before, so there was a lot of swearing going on in my kitchen as I fought to keep the dough contained and it fought to spread all over everything it could touch as I kneaded it. That, a recent review I had read of a new Disney movie, and the fact that there were a whole bunch of posts on the same day and I wanted mine to be a bit different, all combined and led me to create the Land of St. Honore', a fairy tale land where baking is a birthright. I had often wondered if I could write fiction, so these little stories were a challenge, too. The posts had the story and some graphics and the usual write-up about making the recipe, plus photos. Without the Daring Bakers, specifically the warm and welcoming group that it grew into, I would never have tried to write this way, nor felt the impulse to. I would never have attempted things like
Gateau St. Honore',
Strawberry Mirror Cake,
the infamous Chocolate Crepe Cake,
real buttercream, croissants, puff pastry from scratch, real pastry cream and so much more.
For many years of wonderful baking with Lis, Tartlette, Peabody, Brilynn, Helene, Mary, Breadchick, DaviMack and Tanita, Baking Soda, Tanna, Lynn, Ilva, Andrea, Deborah, Meeta, Dharm, and many more daring and delightful bloggers, I am grateful. A huge thank you to Lis for keeping the Daring Baker's group (and even bigger group when it became the Daring Kitchen) going even when it took on a life of its own and was probably more work than fun some of the time.
You will be missed by many Lisa and the Daring Kitchen is a fine legacy.