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Eat-LA on Off-Ramp: The California Homemade Food Act

by Colleen Bates | Off-Ramp

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What Mark Stambler's reduced to. John Rabe

A couple years ago, we profiled Mark Stambler, a Silverlake man who bakes bread in a brick oven in his backyard. He started baking bread as a young man to impress women (he says it worked), but got serious and even won a blue ribbon at the state fair for his baguette.

A while later, the LA Times picked up the story, adding that Stambler was selling his bread to local stores and restaurants. The very morning the story ran, the county health department came calling to shut down Stambler's efforts. State law, it said, bans the bartering of backyard baguettes.

In stepped Assemblyman Mike Gatto with AB 1616, the California Homemade Food Act.

"If the Act passes," according to Gatto's office, "homemade foods available for sale within the state would include breads and other baked goods, granola and other dry cereal, popcorn, nut mixes, chocolate-covered non-perishables, roasted coffee, dry baking mixes, herb blends, dried tea, honey, dried fruits, jams and jellies, and candy."

There's still a long way to go, but Stambler, who built his own 900-degree oven, can take the heat.

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