For many years my parents, and I with them, lived across the street from a painfully trendy restaurant called Felix. Frequented by the European elite and Brazilian models, a table in those days was coveted and equally hard to come by. As neighbors, we endeared ourselves to them and managed to secure the occasional table but, more often than not, were rebuffed as tourists. That is until my father, feeling ill at the table, stepped outside and slumped over one of those plastic free newspaper dispensers and passed out. It was pretty traumatic for everyone including, us, the staff, and especially those seated in the window. Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing more than dehydration. The unintended consequence, however, was that we were instantly famous at Felix and would never ever have to worry about getting a table at whatever time for any number ever again. Sometimes you get famous for the wrong reasons but sometimes it’s really helpful.
This is exactly what happened this time last year when I made the ill-advised decision to go grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggly in Harbour Island 7 months pregnant on crutches with a 2 year old. ‘Not the way I want to be remembered’ was what I was thinking as I took down the entirety of the Asian food section. There would be no soy sauce for the island until the next ship came in, literally. The unintended side effect this time was that the staff rushed to help me find my groceries whenever I darkened the door, which meant I had access to all the good stuff squirreled away in the back room for locals. Spring onions, ginger, Boston bibb lettuce all materialized seemingly out of thin air. But no matter what pull you have at the Piggly Wiggly, there is no good bread to be found on Harbour Island, so you will have to bake it yourself.
Diane Stoner’s Bread 101
You will need 4 cups unbleached flour, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2.5 tsp instant yeast, 1.5 to 1.75 cups of water.
Put all the dry ingredients into the food processor, pulse it a couple of times to combine. Then slowly pour in the water, it will soon form a ball and clean the bowl. Stop. Proof it (let it rise) until it doubles in size, about 2 hrs. Put it into a loaf tin and bake at 425°F for 30 minutes.