When you return to the memory of tastes it is easy to be disappointed. Too often the memory is linked heavily to the event or the circumstances of the taste. The brioche aren’t as rich as they seemed when they were a luxury in your days with a limited student budget. The meringue cookies you cherished on your bakery visits are more sweet than blandly crisp, more cloying than any adult should enjoy. Then there are the dinners, marked by romance, birthdays, or trips that can never be replicated. But sometimes, just sometimes, something is as good as you remember.
My brother-in-law, B, and I had this discussion over the weekend. A birthday present for my mother-in-law brought Hubby’s family to Banff for a weekend of eating and laughing at the children, with some swims and a hike thrown in. With a need to get my girls out of the house I decided to take them to Glamorgan Bakery, to stock up on B’s favourite cheese buns for the weekend.
Glamorgan Bakery is a Calgary institution. Since 1977 the owners have been churning out buttery goodness to Southwest Calgary. Hubby’s family grew up a relatively short bike ride away and took advantage of that quite regularly. It wasn’t until B and his then girl-friend and now my preggo-sister-in-law came to visit us shortly after we moved that I was properly introduced.
All I can remember B talking about was the cheese bun. How it was filled with cheese and butter to such an extent that the bread dough involved seemed superfluous. For a man who practically survives on any variety of cheese on bread – pizza, grilled cheese, melted cheese on bread dipped in ketchup – the Glamorgan Bakery cheese bun was his idea of perfection.
Then came the sugar cookies. We came for the cheese buns and we will return again and again for the sugar cookies. He says that he remembers eating them as a child, although I find that hard to believe because my mother-in-law is a fantastic baker. But then, fueled by a childhood memory, he went back to bakery and tried the sugar cookies, . Shockingly, they were better than he even remembered.
The Monster was enthralled by the selection of the bakery -colorful cupcakes, the overwhelming scent of butter and chocolate, and too much selection in the cookie department. I went straight to the counter for the cheese buns and she went straight to the sugar cookies. More precisely, the brightly coloured dinosaur cookies. How can you say no to a happy 2 year old? She got her cookie, promptly sat down on the floor, and took a bite. And then another and another. Two men were enjoying their coffee at the tiny counter for that purpose, oblivious to the joy of a sugar fueled toddler at their feet.
The dinosaur cookie was bigger than the Monster could handle so sadly I had to help her finish it. Let me rephrase that, I thought the cookie was too big and too good so I forced her to share it with me. Seriously, these are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had. Not so much cookie as sweet butter that someone like Ferran Adria or Heston Blumenthal decided to serve in a crispy form. So I went back yesterday and bought more. Some for me and some for a girlfriend who was hosting us for tea in the afternoon as Little Miss Sunshine and I escaped the mess at home. By the time I got to her house the butter had stained the brown paper bag they came in and one cookie was missing. Good thing I bought more for dessert.
It's funny how those buttery, delicious cookies seem to disappear into thin air! We have that problem at our house, too!
I'm just getting back to check in with you and you always make me crave good food when I come by. The funniest thing about the Canadians I've visited is their obsession with doughnuts... Horton's to be exact. I can totally relate to nostalgia and the memory of food, though. You have inspired me to post about our dinner last night. Of course, you can place an order for a bag... but you're plenty talented to make you're own! Can we barter you're cooking for my bags? I need a laundry fairy and a chef.
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