|In a small town, even pastries are political.|
Sven knows I buy bread at Selver. How Sven found out, I do not know, but he's given me hell for it a few times now. "You keep eating that shit," he says, "and you'll be dead in, like, three weeks!"
Sven takes an interest in where I buy my bread in Viljandi because he is a baker, and would prefer that I buy only bread from him. I often do, but sometimes I can't help but bring home a doughy loaf of rosinasai from the archenemy of all independent food stores across Estonia.
Sven the baker keeps an eye on the market. He knows where each man gets his daily bread. When a cafe opened up nearby he wasted no time in tearing apart the competitor's wares. "And did you see those cakes? So puny and dry. Let me tell you, anyone who eats that stuff will be dead in, like ..."
I did go into the rival's bakery once just to see what was on offer. I made sure to look over my shoulder when I stepped through the doorway, scanned the windows on the opposite building, hoping that no one in the town would report back to Sven that I was seen entering the "other" cafe. And, sure enough, the cakes inside were small and dry. As many Estonian bakers suffer from severe myopia, they only see dry and small cakes and pastries on the shelves of other bakeries, and assume that these are the only kinds of cakes that exist the world over.
That keeps me going back to Sven's cafe for baked goods, with the occasional guilty trek to Selver, but now I hear a high-end cafe is opening up just around the corner, a place where a stale roll graced with a dead fish isn't the resident baker's idea of fine cuisine. Sven and I haven't discussed the new cafe, but we both know "it" exists. Needless to say, if I do go there, it will be early in the morning, or just before closing time. I'll have to wear a trench coat and a false mustache. Such is life in a small town.