Nina’s Pain Sauvage

A Happy Monk attempt at Nina’s Pain Sauvage

Nina Raginsky is on to something!

Her Pain Sauvage is nothing short of a revelation, being made without any leavening of any kind. No sourdough, no commercial yeast, just whole flour (and grain meal), water and salt. And it makes the most delicious bread.


She lives on Salt Spring Island in a 100-year-old house, which she calls her “Maison Sauvage” and tends her garden, which she calls her “Jardin Sauvage.”… Continue reading

Is The Baguette On the Verge of a Renaissance?

Might the humble French baguette be on the verge of a renaissance?

In November 2019, I lamented in a blog post that the venerable baguette might be in decline. Scores of rural French boulangeries were closing. They were unable to compete with megastores like Carrefour and Super-U, which sell TVs and liquor alongside peanut butter and pork sirloin.… Continue reading

The Milk Maid, Love and Bread Pudding

The Milk Maid by Johannes Vermeer, 1658.

This painting, “The Milk Maid” by Johannes Vermeer, is a masterpiece, painted in 1658 and startling in its realism. The canvas shimmers with its depiction of light and colour and the stillness and warmth of the scene. The woman pouring milk into a bowl is evocative, stirring.

What the woman is making is interesting, too.… Continue reading

One ha’penny, two ha’penny!

I suffer from a common affliction called earworm. At any given moment, there might be two or three musical tunes on permanent rotation in my head. They’re not all playing at once, mind you. When one earworm fades or shows weakness, the next earworm asserts itself and assumes control. There are legions of these songs waiting in the queue.… Continue reading

The Ocean Within Us

The water temperature was 7ºC yesterday when I went for a late afternoon swim. Colder than usual, but the water was flat, calm, reflecting the pink and orange of sunset.

These were luxurious conditions for a long, slow cold-water swim. A flock of gulls circled and dove at the water out past the Living Rock Island.… Continue reading