January is flying by, it’s probably the busiest month out of the year. On Saturday, I had to finishin a few errands downtown, so I made the trip into an adventure by jogging to the fabric store. I find that errands are better if I am fully present during the trip. Today was memorable because I sat around and talked to Howard, the owner of the shop, about the fabric industry in Boston, listened to how his shop has changed over the last forty years + overheard him talking to Marie from Galvin-ized hats about small business. He gave me tips on the best place to find pants that will last + helped me find a few embroidery needles for a project later this month. Most importantly, his stories reminded me to slow down.
The store is tucked away on a side street right outside of Chinatown where you catch the smell of rice flour + sugar on your way up the steps. It’s a large space in a brick building that is nestled between the new Millennium Tower and historic Chinatown, which is always bustling with life. There are rows of fabric that my novice eyes worked hard to tell apart from one another. I got lost in everything from practical corduroy to delicate chiffon. There are rows of fabric across the space, which must have been at least 1200 sq ft, and lining the walls. In the center of the store, there is a large table where you can set your fabric while you shop + Howard will help you find the right length.
I’m captivated by stories. I found myself drifting off into details about the store’s mortgage + his knowledge of the local artists who he knew by name. It’s rare, to find someone in Boston who actually knows Boston – I’m talking about the physical landscape, not just the best night clubs and bars, but who can hold the people and the places and the things together in their palm, like a small gem. Some days the world seems so amorphous, holed up in the office late into the day and then drifting out on the web at night. I can forget the lifeblood of the city is under my feet. I can forget the here and now of it all.
It’s difficult to talk to people about the past without asking for a heavy dose of nostalgia, which is why I loved talking to Howard. We talked about the past, present, and future of the shop as if it were a living organism. And it feels that way while you visit, as though the spirit of the place is very much alive.
I am entranced by materials lately, by the things that make up the day-to-day. I guess a fabric shop will do that to you – bring you back a few years, when everything wasn’t a one-click button purchase, but it all had a person + a story behind it. Cheers to stories, to sitting down on Sunday with good friends + laughing over the things that weigh on our hearts.
My mom slows down on the weekends with big meals, which on the east coast, are called brunch. She used to make us dutch babies with fresh fruit and I could never get enough of the eggy and light flavor. The cast iron skillet in this recipe gives the dough a rich and buttery finished that goes nicely with the tartness of the apple and confectioners sugar garnish all without using eggs. This eggless, vegan dutch baby is a nice weekend treat for a slow morning.
– Cinnamon Vegan Apple Dutch Baby –
Prep Time: 30 min. | Cook Time: 15 min. | Serves: 4
1 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbs vegan butter or vegetable oil
1 honey crisp apple, thinly sliced
1 tbs brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- In a small bowl, whisk together apple sauce, milk, flour, vanilla, salt and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and set aside.
- Peel and thinly slice one honey crisp apple.
- In a cast iron skillet, melt 2 tbs of vegan butter. After the butter melts, add apples, brownsugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until apples are tender enough to easily pierce with a fork.
- Place the apple and sugar mixture into a small bowl. Clean your cast iron skillet and heat in the oven for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and coat with butter. Add apples in the center of the skillet, followed by dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Served the vegan dutch baby with powdered sugar and maple syrup.