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 bakery....here'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.