不花巧，只要健康的美味 —— 是我對於家、對媽媽的味道最直覺的印象。自小習慣了便覺得理所當然，是直到很後來，才漸漸明白那些簡單的料理背後帶著的心意。料理，不只是照料口胃，更有照料人的意思吧。我媽經常似是不刻意地，將她久經年月練就的獨門秘方、或從菜市場阿姨那裡聽來的料理小撇步，在我稱讚美味後便和盤托出。跟孩子分享這些秘訣，大概也是料理使人幸福的一部分。
Unpretentiously rustic, simply a taste of healthiness — this is my best way to describe the taste of my mom’s home cooked meals. I was once a kid who took the effort my mom made for granted; it was only until much later did I come to realize the love behind every simple dish she made. Beyond feeding tummies, cooking actually has an underlying urge to care for others. Whenever I praise her cooking skills, my mom would generously, yet casually, share her ages-old secret recipes, as well as the little cooking tips that she has collected from the street markets. Passing down recipes to the children is perhaps one of the many joyful moments for people who enjoy cooking.
A mother of two, Yukako from Nagoya says, “Life is like bread; the simpler, the better.” Yukako is married to Jordan, a native born of the Yilan County. The two moved to Jordan’s birthplace and opened an artisan bakery called ca:san, which means “mom” in Japanese. As a bread lover, Yukako naturally wants her children to be able to enjoy fresh and delicious bread every day. The wish to see her children’s happy smile prompted her to start making bread herself. To acquire the natural taste, Yukako makes use of Japanese flour and yeast to combine with the local Taiwanese produce. She even goes an extra mile to make her own yeast. “I would like to make things myself whenever possible.” At the beginning, her home was used as a mini-workshop to produce bread for food markets and home delivery services. It was until February 2016 when she opened the actual shop, ca:san bakery finally begins to provide a physical space for the people in Yilan to enjoy the baking goods.
The bakery opens from Tuesday to Friday, as well as on alternate Saturdays. Yukako is however never less busy during the non-working days — the family moved to Yilan for its ideal environment for raising children, weekends are surely reserved for family days regardless how busy work is. This is also what keeps driving ca:san bakery to maintain a healthy business. “After sending the kids to school on Monday morning, we’d go and source fresh produce to make red and black beans, or candied fruit peels. As our bread dough needs 15-20 hours to rise at low temperature, I’d spend the afternoon alone preparing dough for the next day, while Jordan weighing out the flour and ingredients for the coming week. Around evening time, we’d start preparing the bread for the next day…”
The process of fermentation at low temperature takes time and patience, which is the only key to make the bread soft yet elastic. Their busy working days usually start at around 3 to 4 in the morning. “Using natural yeast requires very a demanding process, but the end products are far better than those using a short period of time to ferment. We are just fascinated by the charisma of natural yeast, and we’d rather take the extra effort of waking up early to keep up this method.”
The production line that only consists of the couple has a rather big product catalog, providing more than a dozen types of bread and cake on any working day. The bakery closes once all goods are sold. “Many bakeries offer only a small selection. If I’m looking for bread to buy, I wish there’s a good variety on the shelf to pick from. I want my bakery to be exactly like that.”
Both making bread and raising kids are all about practices, sometimes you’d mumble to yourself, “I still need to work more on this.” This is a journey of finding the right intensity, just like how customers of ca:san describe their bread as “tender but chewy, every bite makes you feel it is exactly the taste you’ve been longing for.”