By Donald Coutts
I was brought up on a small highland farm. Our kitchen was often filled with the warm smell of fresh baked bread. Perhaps this happy childhood memory wedded me to the smell and taste of bread. I can sniff out a baker’s in any town or village!
I remember walking halfway across Paris to the infamous Poulaine Bakery to buy some of their world famous sourdough bread. I brought the absurdly expensive loaf carefully through customs with great excitement. The next morning my gluttonous deerhound lurcher Brann ate the whole thing, including the rustic paper bag!
On my first trip to New York I remember tasting my first open fired Pizza. It was great. Grimaldis of Brooklyn just beside the Brooklyn bridge. A sparkling, twinkling, nighttime view of Manhattan from under the bridge probably helps make it more memorable.
Then fairly recently I co owned a wood fired Pizza restaurant in the lovely town of Cromarty. We cranked out thousands of Pizzas over seven years throwing wood into this beast of an oven we had had made by a mountain of a man called Alf.
I guess these are some of the reasons I want to get involved in the Community Garden to help create an outside cooking area with a wood fired oven. My dreams are that twice a month we fire up the oven and make pizzas and bread together as a community and as the oven is cooling down people could pop in trays of vegetables or an overnight slow roast.
In the Middle East small community ovens are fairly commonplace. A place to chat and cook and sniff the unmistakable smell of baking bread.
We have started fundraising and local architect Steve Quinn has kindly offered his services free to draw up some plans. If anyone in the town is or knows of an experienced stone mason/bricklayer who could help us it would be great.
Here’s hoping by the end of the summer we will be sitting in the garden eating some homemade pizzas cooked in our own community oven. If you feel you have skills to offer this project please come and join us. The potential for skill swapping teaching and of course eating is boundless.