Clay-Oven In Backyard. Stat.


What it Takes. Photo: Courtesy of Linsey Herman/Cake and Commerce

Have you ever dreamed of baking your own bread outdoors?  In your own clay oven?  Maybe yes, maybe no….but the truth is, you gotta admire someone who makes her own fantasy come true.  Linsey Herman from Cake and Commerce tells us her story.

Growing up in Massachusetts there was no escaping the ritual fall field trip to Plimoth Plantation, a historic replica of a 17th century English Village populated by role players. Cooling days and the making construction paper hats meant the one-hour bus ride to the coast was not far off. While most of my classmates looked forward to the time away from class, the thing I looked forward to the most wasn’t the time away from penmanship and phonics and math but the possibility of eating some so-called “Indian Pudding”, a simple corn pudding made from cornmeal, milk, and molasses, or getting to churn butter. I was always a little weird.

I hadn’t spent a fall in Massachusetts in almost 10 years after relocating to Chicago. And then a layoff, followed by another layoff, drove me back home to free lodging at the ancestral home. The sky is different here, there’s something in the air, an aroma of sweet pine and burning leaves and dew that makes me nostalgic for a time that I don’t think ever really existed except in the story books read aloud to first graders in a wooded country elementary school.

Extant or not, these memories made me think about cookery prior to the mid-20th century arrival of mass refrigeration, electricity, and convenience. Since I’d also been doing a lot of barbecuing over the summer and thinking about convection currents in dome-shaped cooking vessels, I thought that it might be fun to build an oven in the backyard. And create a Foodbuzz 24,24,24 event around it.

What was I thinking? Seriously? 


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Associate Producer, Here & Now Most recently, Jessica worked as an associate producer at WBUR's daily local program, Radio Boston. Jessica moved to Boston in 2008 and has lived many places since leaving her native Texas. After graduating from college, Jessica worked as a federal employee, documentary film festival producer, oral historian, university teaching assistant, traveling saleswoman and klezmer musician. Her work and projects have appeared in The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Bust, Barnard Magazine, National Public Radio, Public Radio International (PRI), and the BBC. Jessica's freelance radio work has received various awards including accolades from the Religion Newswriters Association and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. As a Fulbright Scholar in El Salvador, Jessica collected and studied oral histories from the Jewish Community based in San Salvador. Jessica received her B.A. in political science from Columbia University’s Barnard College and her M.A. in history from Indiana University. She learned how to make radio from the phenomenal folks at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Jessica lives in Somerville with her husband, twin son and daughter, and two cats. To learn more about Jessica’s projects, both current and past, please visit