It is, first of all, important to say that the land now known as Quintana Ranch -- where Anastacia's is located -- and indeed the entirety of the Trujillo Creek Valley and surrounding area, was home to a thriving community of First Nations Peoples at the time of the United States Homestead Act of 1862 . This act involved land deemed by the US government to be under government ownership and therefore 'public' and available for settlement despite those lands having been occupied already for thousands of years. We are profoundly aware that it was through this violent removal of a culture that the ranch became our family's home. In addition to acknowledging this devastating history and with an understanding that this and other acts of dispossession and colonization can never truly be remedied, Anastacia's and the Lucero family are currently researching ways that, within present-day context and circumstance, appropriate reparation can be made.
Albert Guy Trimble, Master Baker
It was the baking, in the end, that killed him... and not all that long after I came into the world.
During my grandfatherless, childhood, I had only my mother's memories through which to learn the ingredients of his life. But always, I have also known some invisible thing shared between him and me, a 'starter' of sorts kneaded by him into my genes, a sense of his leavening, of the thing that gave spring to his life and, through his gift, gives spring to mine.
My mother says that when I was born, he looked at my fingers and proclaimed, "she will be an artist."
I guess like recognizes like, for this man, who tried so hard to fit into a world prescribed for him, was an artist through it all, a wild spirit who explored so many things, a master craftsman searching for his place.
I say it was the baking that killed him, him topping out at 400 pounds and dying at 64 of a heart condition. But maybe the baking was his salve, not salvation exactly -- abundant pastry clogging arteries; so many donuts straining heart muscle, liver, and pancreas. No, not salvation, but surely material comfort for a soul not able to fully emulsify within culture's recipe.
The baking is certainly not the only footsteps of his that I've followed, I've had my own struggles settling into humanity's concoction, but baking became his place as it is becoming mine, and in this place we've both found a value that we might contribute to society's all too complicated blend.
Baking is a largely solitary pursuit. Still, through the wee hours his shade sits with me, kitchen stool groaning underneath his ethereal bulk, my ghostly grandfather keeping his own counsel as I feed sourdough bugs, experiment with shortbread tarts, and cut sweet-dough into cinnamon spirals.
Sometimes we're even joined, in my tiny crooked kitchen, by Fidelia the grandmother of Gordon who guides my hand in the rolling, filling, and crimping of empanadas, in the turning of tortillas on a hot skillet. And in the busy silence, I often hear these two elders chuckling together as they watch me slowly gathering the expertise they embodied so comfortably in their time.
But will the baking kill me too? It's a question every baker must ask, a restraint that we all must cultivate if we are to accompany the next generations as teacher rather than myth, an austerity we must adopt in the presence of so much deliciousness passing over our oven doors.
It also is a matter of ingredient and technique. My grandfather came up as a baker during a time when yeasted dough was king, when factory farming was the new wave of food production, and 'improved' shortenings and dough conditioners were 'revolutionizing' his industry.
Nowadays, in my mountain bakery, I look to ways older even than these benevolent grandparents, to the methods and materials that prevailed before economics became enamored with 'more' and 'faster,' to a time when another sourdough baker, unknown to history... and to me, likely toiled under the gaze of her own ancestors in the predawn-quiet.
I'm certain she worked then, as I do now, so that a neighbor could have a mid-morning break, a hearty lunch sandwich, a scrumptious end to evening meal. It's in producing life giving sweet treats and sourdoughs that I'm also nourished, living and thriving so that I can bake long into the years for my southern Colorado neighbors and friends; so that I can offer my own few lines to the Histoy in the Baking.