Listening to: Back in Black-AC/DC
"And thou shalt eat of the bread that thou hast obtained. And if thou finds the bread to be of acceptable quality, that it be just fluffy enough, that it has good flavour, that it does not have too much flour on the outside, then thou shall proclaim "Thats Darn Good Bread!". And thou shalt pass it around, in order that others may also taste of it and make the same proclamation."
-Excerpt from The Book of The Bread, chapter 71
I'm not sure how it began. I think we were at a party and got a little bored. This was in 1996 or so, maybe early 1997. Tiring of the party we decided to vacate the area for an hour or so, by way of the Hataitai bakery. This being in the time of night, fresh bread was obtained. Eating it in the car on the way back, someone said "You know, this is darn good bread!". Eager to confirm this fact, the bread was passed around the car until all the passengers had tasted some, and agreed.
And so the cult of the Darn Good Bread was born. I'm not even sure who the original carload of members was. I was there. Maybe Kieran, maybe Morgue. There were four. It's creation was spontaneous. We had/have members, even if we are not certain who they all are. Instead of Acolytes, we have Apocolytes, because it sounds cooler.
Membership and initiation is fairly simple. To enter, one must consume darn good (adequate or stale bread is ineligible) bread in the presence of a member, and state that it is indeed 'darn good bread'. If the member acknowledges the reference, you're in. At all times henceforth, one must seek out the most darn good bread one can, and visit bakeries in the wee small hours whenever appropriate.
The cult arose as a natural consequence of bakeries opening very early in order to have fresh goods on the shelves first thing in the morning. I don't know who the first late night revellers to twig to this were, but clearly they realised they were on to a good thing.
I was inducted into this ritual in the mid nineties after a night out in Wellington. We stumbled into the Hataitai bakery at about 3am, to be met by bright lights, friendly islander staff, and shelves full of fresh baked goods on the shelves still warm from the oven.
The bakery soon became a regular calling point on the way home.
There are certain etiquette rules to follow when visiting a bakery at this time of day. They are designed to embrace the fact that you will be either drunk or very tired or both (ideally).
1. Stumble through the door. Trip on the sill or catch the door handle on your clothing, its up to you. Improvise if necessary. This should be relatively comedic (see rule 4). Sober drivers are excempted from rule 1 on the grounds of needing to appear sober as well as actually being sober. In fact sober drivers are excempted from most of the rules, in order to gain maximum amusement from watching their non-sober charges adhere to them.
2. Hold the door open for the gorgeous girl/guy who is leaving as you enter. It's about a 1/1000 chance, but your night may just pick up here.
3.Talk loudly to your mates and the staff in hoarse voices. You will be hoarse having to yell at each other in the nightclubs and bars, and slightly deaf for the same reason.
4. Laugh a lot. EVERYTHING is humourous in this situation and at this time of night.
5. Take AGES to choose your purchase. Its a big decision. The severity of your hangover and your need for breakfast may depend on it.
6. Rifle through every pocket, purse or carryall to find the correct money. Again, take your time.
7. Buy something glorious and munchie vanquishing.
8. Take it outside and eat it from the ubiquitous brown paper bag. Park benches and carseats are good eating locations, but failing that the footpath or kerb will suffice. Babble happily to other bakery patrons. Reflect on your good night out.
9. Go home and sleep it off. The night is essentially over. Unless rule 2 worked out for you, or you are introducing a new potentially special person to your late night rituals.
In addition to the Hataitai Bakery, the Moera Bakery was/is a good stop on the way home for Hutt folk. I recall many visits to it sometime around dawn. For those wanting the good night out to go on just a little longer, the Hataitai is a good bet. It got to the point with us where someone just had to say "Bakery?!", and we would head off for the short trip around the basin and through the tunnel to where the good honest food was.
And the food was good. Baguettes, sticky buns, coffee buns, rolls, pies. I think the king was the still warm cheese and bacon loaf.
Even though I am using the past tense, I still partake in late night bakery calls when the mood is right. There was a quality dip at Hataitai a couple of years ago, causing much lamentation, but I am reliably informed that it has returned to its regular good form.
So find a good bakery and add it to your night.