When it’s right, you just know.

emember at the beginning of World Vegan Month when I said I’m a ninety percenter? Well, here’s something I did this weekend. I had like ninety percent of my hair chopped off. Friday morning, my hair was all the way down to there, and by Saturday it was riding way up in here. See what I’m saying?

Now, I’m a girl from New Jersey, so a major haircut is big news, end of story. But here’s why this story is even bigger news than usual. How many major haircuts do you think I got this weekend? Do you think I’d be asking that question if I’d stopped at just one? No, sir. I would not, and I did not. I got ninety percent of my hair chopped off on Friday night, and then I went back to the salon on Sunday evening and got it completely re-cut. The first time, it just wasn’t right. When it’s not right, you know.

Sometimes — like after the second haircut in a weekend — it is right. And then, too, you know. There are only so many total do-overs that one week can handle, so I’m glad to report on a couple of moments from the past week that were so very right on the first try. The kind of right that makes the order in the universe palpable for a fleeting moment. The kind of right we’re all chasing.

First, these pretzels. I’ve been making them for years, since the seven-year-old child was a one-year-old child, and the dozen moms in our playgroup used to elbow our own barely mobile children out of the way for a pretzel to eat with our strong, strong mommy coffee. These pretzels make people ridiculously happy. You should make them for the people you love.

And second, the event that inspired me to make these pretzels this week. London readers, take note, and take the tube at your earliest convenience to the Swiss Cottage station to Bake with Maria. That pretty lady up there in the photos is Maria. Don’t you just love her at first sight?

There, too, is a cinnamon roll that she baked. Don’t you love her even more now?

Maria Mayerhofer, an expert home baker, has been teaching bread- and cake-baking classes out of her own kitchen for several years. With demand having grown too great for a home-based business, she’s recently opened The Baking Lab, a charming space in St. John’s Wood, and expanded her roster of classes and private event hosting. From the first moment I watched Maria work, I could feel the rightness of this new venture in my bones. If you’re interested in stepping up your bread-baking skills, or in pairing pretzels with beer, or honestly just in spending a few hours with someone whose infectious energy and knowledge is worth more than a few hours of your time, I recommend you sign up for one of her classes.

Also, how adorable is the decor at this place?

I’ll take one of everything, please, and three dozen pretzels. Plus a few for the family.

Right. So here’s your to-do list for the week. Make soft pretzels. Bake with Maria. And try to keep the haircuts to a minimum. Two at the most, k?

  • Where’s the picture of your new haircut? What a teaser! I did not know about Maria when I lived in London and now I am sad. I also am sad I never managed to get in a class at Leith’s with Ottolenghi. (I took a good baking class at divertimenti though and another at cucina caldesi).ReplyCancel

  • Isabella


    What a wonderful post – love the way your story unfolds…I want to make the soft pretzels and take a baking class….

    Your new london friend, Isabella!ReplyCancel

  • I love soft pretzels and these looks so yummy! I never want to make them because I worry that I will not be able to eat them at their peak–I eat some plain and make sandwiches out of others. How do you eat them all up? Does this recipe freeze well?

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.comReplyCancel

  • Danielle

    Just printed the pretzel recipe. You have convinced me (and you didn’t even realize it either) to make these pretzels!! This will be my FIRST attempt to bake any type of dough product from scratch, YIKES! Keep your fingers crossed :)!! I stink at baking but am going to give it another shot with my fancy new stove :)I will let you know how they turn out! xoxo!ReplyCancel

  • […] Also, how adorable is the decor at this place? When it’s right, you just know. | Umami Girl […]ReplyCancel

  • traycee

    very nice umami girl! i love home baking, puts that xtra oomph. Maria’s baking classes rock! i am one of her students.
    I will definitely try the pretzels! been looking for the recipe

    will let u know how it went :0)ReplyCancel

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