Posted by: kaegw | May 5, 2008

Welcome to the Essence of Food

The Crazy BakerIn our new blog, the Essence of Food, we want to share our thoughts with you on all aspects of food.  And we’d love to hear back from you, as well, so we can get a conversation going about how food is so vital in our lives. 

It’s not just fuel for our bodies, but it’s fellowship, love in action, caring and compassion, time shown for a loved one and so much more.

It’s also political and spiritual; art and science.

So, while I’m here baking “luscious” desserts and giving the world sweet indulgences, there’s also much more to who I am as The Crazy Baker, aka Hall Hitzig.

And that’s what I hope to share with you in our blog.  Over time, you’ll also get to know my wife, Amy, and get a first-hand glimpse at what makes a small business like a bakery operate successfully.

I hope you check out our website: and see for yourself what we have to offer.  It’s all luscious. 

Back to baking…Hall



  1. I so agree with what you have said here – can’t wait to see where you take this. I will definitely check back.

  2. Hall, this looks great. I’m looking forward to an engaging conversation with you and all of the foodies out there about the Essence of Food. It’ll be interesting.

  3. why has had this had to become a conversation? isn’t it extraordinary how many cultures understand food as something much greater than feeding the face? and for the most part in this culture it isn’t even feeding the face well!

    food is a sacred gift, an art form, a way to express love and fellowship and if it isn’t prepared with this in mind it fails. i am baffled and mystified at the popularity of chain restaurants. what in the world are they providing that people find enticing?

    my daughter went to italy and the chef personally erupted from the kitchen when she didn’t order enough, with a shout of ‘ what, you don’t lika my coooking?
    it wasn’t about sales, it was about his desire to feed, to share his art, to provide pleasure.

    thank goodness for small bakers like yourself and bread makers and restaurants that get that the bottom line is not the almighty dollar but the shared passion and enjoyment of the most important activity and art form in our lives.

    thank you for representing!

  4. The food conversation really isn’t new. All the way back in Roman days there were great discussions about food, and cookbooks were being written. In the 19th century, Brillat-Savarin wrote a tome that is still popular, “The Physiology of Taste”. His book dealt with more aspects of food, from fad to cures to philosophy. A know it all . And all about food!

    What is new, is the lack of respect that food is given. But this is natural in the day and age of industrialized crop and food production. We are so separated from our food sources that we can not relate to it. Food is, to most of us Americans, manufactured. And factories are not something we get close to.

    This industrialization of crop and animal production has led to the industrialization in food production as well. We all know that the soul is far from mass production of anything, so what are we left with? Soulless food. Of course, this production model has also led to a meal judgment using the cost as a factor: the less expensive survives with the uneducated.

    I say uneducated not meaning lack of academics. I mean that most people haven’t tasted good food in generations and the mediocrity in food quality and taste is what most are used to. The soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are now saying they can’t wait to get home to fast food cooking! In World War II, the GI’s wanted to get back to Mom’s cooking. Sad but true.

    Why have we succumbed to this? Propaganda from the food manufacturers? Ease and speed? Cost? Too bad any one of these influenced us. We are susceptible to suggestion, esp. advertising when it is in the guise of the experts pronouncements. Maybe laziness? Could we be so lazy that we would rather have fast, bland, unhealthy food? Yeah, of course that’s a possibility. All of the above.

    The Italian picture is a wonderful example of a passionate culture. And Italians are passionate about their food. But so are the French and many European cultures. They have been closer to their food production and preparation. They also have lived a slower life style than us Americans. Shorter work weeks, paid holidays, relaxed middle class. This all adds up to time to enjoy food and its preparation.

    Why do we small, passionate, and crazy people get involved in “artisan” food preparation? Hard to tell. I’ll guess that it started at Mom’s table and her food standards. And for those of us who didn’t have that in our youth, that person crossed paths with someone who did.

    Thank goodness for Mom!

  5. Hall, Your comments inspire me to share a book recommendation. It’s “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles,” by Jennifer 8. Lee. Here’s the particular passage that came to mind as I read your blog:

    When I heard this, it reminded me of a phone conversation I’d had after the 2003 Iraq invasion. I was in Washington; a number of my friends had been swept up in the historic journey: cynical journalists, idealistic nation builders, mercenary contractors. Many of them informed me of the two improvised Chinese restaurants that had popped up next to the landing pad of a military hospital in the Baghdad Green Zone, a ten-minute stroll north of Saddam Hussein’s palace. The restaurant in the back was slightly more popular because patrons figured it would be less likely to be damaged by an insurgent attack from the street. These Chinese restaurants in Baghdad had neither Chinese nor Arabic on their menus, only English. Though the Chinese restaurateurs had never been to America, they knew how to attract large crowds with American-style Chinese food like sweet-and-sour pork and pan-fried dumplings.

    Among those friends of mine deployed was Walter Miller, a foreign service officer who resembles a bookish version of James Dean. We would chat by phone (his cell phone in Baghdad had a 914 area code, as though he were only in Westchester). In one of those conversations, I wondered aloud why the Chinese restaurants were so popular with my friends in Iraq when, after all, in the Middle East diners should indulge in the authentic local cuisine of kebabs and hummus.

    “It’s a taste of home,” Walter said. Even against the whirl of Medevac helicopters, Chinese food had become a beacon for American patriots. “What could be more American than beer and takeout Chinese?”

  6. sorry i wasn’t clear, i understand why we are talking about food, what else is there worth talking about, i don’t understand why everyone doesn’t get it! real food is yummy! factory food sucks.

  7. i LOVE that story re chinese food!

  8. During times I lived alone, I found the time to cook for myself as art, exercise and appreciation. The exercise part is with the gardens, which also provide inspiration. By cooking enough for two or three meals, or planning intentinal leftovers to incorporate into a new dish, I could “justify” the time when the schedule seemed so full. A mix of familiar and exploratory foods draws me to stay interested in planning, prepping and enjoying home cooking, whether for one, two or a community feast.

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