Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sepia Saturday 315: The Irish Bakery

I sat for a few minutes looking at this photo on my screen and I swear my old faded baking scars began to bark. I earned those scars grabbing sheet pans out of ovens similar to these in design, but not age. I'm old but not that old!

Our prompt photo is of an old Irish bakery. Many years ago I worked at Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakers, a Los Angeles company which operated a bakery, a frozen foods company and a chain of coffee shops. They started out selling Saratoga Chips, which was the original name for potato chips or potato crisps. The chips were purchased in bulk ready made. In the store front a conveyor belt emerged from a hole in the wall while in the back room someone placed prepared chips on the belt; they traveled into the store where the chips were bagged for sale. "Clean" was apparently the advertising word of the day back then.

Saratoga chips were seasoned with salt only which seems a bit quaint in this day and age of complex chip and crisp flavors. You British take the cake for wacky and weird crisp flavors. Here's a few from a BBC website article that intrigued me.

For most of my career, I was involved with flavoring foods of various kinds and descriptions. At one point I conducted a great deal of flavor education. Here's an example of the kind of flavor analysis we would do...this is a record of a training session where we used a simple product, Heinz Ketchip, to analyze the aroma and flavor notes. Can you imagine how complicated the Haggis and Cracked Black Pepper would be? 

Back to the's the headquarters of Van de Kamps Bakery on San Fernando Road in Los Angeles, where I worked for many years

The company has sadly long since gone but the brand lingers on some frozen food products and a small line of doughnuts. Here's what the coffee shops menus looked like eons ago, even before my time. I think the design still holds up and yes....the waitresses did wear the Dutch girl uniforms. 

I don't bake often anymore but every once in a while our oven is called into service. Here's a Dutch Baby I made last weekend for breakfast. Scroll down one blog entry to see the recipe if you're interested. 

Grab your oven mitts and rush over to Sepia Saturday for interesting tales of kitchens, recipes, baking, ovens and MORE!!


  1. Oyster chips? OMG, I don't think so...

    1. The very thought of it made my stomach lurch.

  2. One of the benefits of Sepia Saturday; there is always something new to learn. I had never heard of a "Dutch baby"........wonder why that name? I will give it a try.

    Yes, those chips do not inspire me at all!

  3. Very interesting. I don't think I would be able to analyze the flavor of something in such detail.

  4. Throatburn, metallic, and burnt. Some of my favorite flavor sensations.
    I've had ladies fingers but I don't think I've ever eaten a Dutch baby. Looks more appetizing than I would expect. They're boneless I suppose. Is it by chance an English recipe? And do the bakers in Holland have a recipe for an English baby?

  5. Thank you for the recipe I shall try my skills on this dutch baby. I have never been a fan of chips, but if, salt only! I guess tastes differ and how your taste buds were activated.

  6. Some of those British chips flavors made me shudder a bit. I learned about Dutch Babies long ago when my kids were little & made them frequently. My recipe is a little different than yours: 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt. Mixing is the same including letting the batter rest - sometimes in the fridge overnight, & oven temps & times exactly so, but I bake mine in an oblong baking pan with a lot of butter. Dusting with powdered sugar is good, or topping it with sliced strawberries and whipped cream - which is a Christmas morning tradition. :)

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  8. Your Dutch Baby recipe looks very similar to what we call Yorkshire puddings, which are usually served individually as an accompaniment to a roast dinner. My mother-in-law grew up in Yorkshire and often made them for a family gathering. Not served with sugar can also be served plate size but with a sausage, peas, mash and gravy inside inside it, in an English pub for example, and called Toad in the Hole.

  9. Never heard of a Dutch Baby, but I'm fascinated. And now I'm thinking of making abelskivers. Haven't made those in a few years. And I definitely want to try the Dutch Baby.