One of my earliest toys was a miniature baking set. My mother would give me bits of dough to roll and pat into my little pans, as she explained how cookies, cakes and pastries were made when she was growing up. Her father, Tom Sedgwick, owned the Manor Bakery on Mount Pleasant Road in Toronto, and she and her six siblings grew up learning the trade. From what I could tell from mother’s stories, the Manor Bakery must have been the best bakery in all of Canada, and I loved pretending that I was working there, too.
When I was older I would spend hours pouring through my mother’s old Canadian recipe books. Although we were now living in California, I was growing up with Kate Aitken’s, Five Roses, and Robin Hood--no Betty Crocker in our house. I was becoming an avid little baker, but my mother cautioned that Canadian flour had different properties than American flour, and that some of the old recipes might not work correctly.
One of my fondest memories is of a "souvenir" my mother brought me when she returned from visiting relatives in Ontario. She had packed one of her suitcases with bags of Robin Hood and Five Roses Flour so I would have the chance to work with real Canadian flour. I was overjoyed! Nowadays, I can only imagine what it would take to get through airport security with a suitcase stuffed with bags of “white powder”!
Grandad died when I was six. After that I began spending weekends with my grandmother (so she wouldn’t be lonely, I was told). I was afraid to sleep in a room by myself, so Granny would let me climb in bed with her. At first I wondered why the sheets on the bed had ridges, until she explained that they were made from seamed-together flour sacks from the bakery. Ridges or not, what I would give to sleep on those soft, sweet-smelling sheets again . . .
In 1990 I decided to put together a book of my favorite baked goods to give to friends and family for Christmas. I had collected many wonderful recipes over the years, and had a lot of fun putting the book together. My work was done at a typewriter (no computer back then!) and nine year-old Jordan (with a little help from her dad) did most of the illustrations. Over the years more recipes, children's drawings and photos of family and friends were added, and the book was "computerized". Now, after several requests to put the book online, I've begun the web version of Bonnie's Baking Book. To family and friends--I still have many recipes to add, and beg your patience. If anyone else should happen across this book, I hope you enjoy it, too!