I like to bake, always have done. My Mum is a good baker and she taught me well. When we moved there was a whole box of baking equipment - one thing that Anthony didn't complain about me bringing.
I've noticed that in the UK a lot of people don't bake. There are of course many that do, but there are many more that don't. Baking supplies in UK shops vary, but are normally limited to a small section of shelf space (usually next to the jam).
New Zealand, on the other hand, is a nation of bakers. Buying baking supplies here is like shopping in the 1950s, 21st Century style. Baking supplies are not corralled in a small section in close proximity to the preserves here, they have a glorious aisle to themselves.
Let's start with the basics. Baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar are all there, not in little pots, but in full sized packets. They are there for people who will use them and come back for more, not leave them at the back of a cupboard following some half-arsed attempt to make cupcakes 3 years ago because they saw an article in Cosmo about how cupcakes are trendy.
Muffin cases are another example. In the UK many places don't have them, and those that do usually just have them in white. Here they have lots of designs and sizes, you can even get ones specifically for savoury muffins (my latest are a fetching red chili design).
Whatever else New Zealand may be, for me it's turning out to be baking heaven.
Thomas Mann returns to LA
1 day ago