"They figured there was this great hunger for connection. That farmers wanted to meet the city people who used their crops. That city people wanted to know where their food came from.
They had no idea if they were right. Everyone told them they weren’t. Everyone told them not to quit their day jobs. Everyone told them they would fail. They figured they wouldn’t be grandiose. For opening day they baked about 30 loaves of bread, 2 dozen muffins and 12 cinnamon buns. When they opened their doors at 10 o’clock … there were 200 people lined up at the door." - "Tall Grass Prarie Bread Company", CBC.ca's Vinyl Cafe (via Siona)
"When is a bakery not a bakery? When it’s a political statement, an architectural pioneer, and a bit of performance art, all wrapped in one." - "Mystery Muffins", New York Magazine, January 26, 2006 (next time I'm in NYC, I'm checking out Birdbath where the walls are made of amber waves of grain)
"In ancient Egypt, the word for bread meant "life," the force of which still shows remarkable staying power, according to the scholarly English food writer Jane Grigson, who, roaming widely in the groves of academe, observed that her scattered archaelogist friends all gave place of honor at their tables to small Near Eastern flatbreads, edible talismans keeping them in day-to-day physical touch with earliest recorded times." - Michael Batterberry, founding editor of Food Arts and Food & Wine magazines
"Surely it is more than coincidence that the ancient tradition of Hebrew grace before the meal begins with the prayer of thanks for the wine and immediately follows with the prayer of thanks for the bread -- the only two parts of the meal thus honored. Though I don't speak conversational Hebrew, these Hebrew prayers are ingrained in my soul. And I think of bread and wine as the foundation of my culinary existence.
My first experience of eating home-baked bread was not until I was seventeen [she grew up in NYC] and a freshman at the University of Vermont. A local resident paid my boyfriend with a loaf of bread for mowing the lawn. It vaguely captured my attention - he was so pleased about it. He made fried egg sandwiches for us for a hunting trip - something I would normally have rejected on concept (both the fried egg and the hunting) -- but I was in love, it was so cold, and I was so hungry... and it was an epiphany. My first school vacation back in New York I borrowed "The Joy of Cooking" from Rosalind Streeter, a neighbor and friend of my mother's, and made my first bread." - Rose Levy Beranbaum, "The Bread Bible"
There was a time I subscribed to practically every technology and business magazine under the sun. (Yes, you could have gawked at the heft of the daily cache in the mailbox.)
There was a time I belonged and participated in nearly every local business and technology organization like NAWBO and the local chamber and the Utah Information Technology Association. There was a time I belonged to quite a number of environmental activist groups like Greenpeace and Sierra Club.
There was a time I didn't want to miss a beat of what was happening. And, so, I missed my life.
This time I belong to one dues-paying organization and it's called Slow Food USA.
p.s. I'm very serious when I say that 2007 will be the year that folks get that social media will be likened to a communal table rather than a printing press. That social media has more in common with barbershops, trading posts, village bazaars, coffeehouses, piazzas and plazas, eighteenth century Parisian salons, troubadours and minstrels, theater, and Homeric poetry than it has with newspapers and television.
Bonus: Of course, there will be a bakery with the teahouse. (I just ordered book "Breakfast, Lunch, Tea" recently about the Rose Bakery in the U.K. with recipes. Also available at many Anthropologie's.) Locally, I am a big fan of Bay Bread and Crepe & Brioche and you can find both in the South Bay at farmer's markets.
I don't want to give away the name of the book I began last May 2nd, but bread is a huge, overarching symbol. One day I was writing during my morning tea ritual in the garden and the Virgin Mary kept wanting to be writ. (I must confess sections read like Christian erotica both literally and in the sense that Rumi writes of the Beloved.)
It's later I learnt that Bethlehem, "the old Hebrew name bêth lehem, meaning "house of bread", has survived to this day." And, recently, I went to see the SF MOMA exhibit of Anselm Kiefer titled "Heaven and Earth" (highly recommend, through Jan 21st). Born in 1945 post-war Germany, Kiefer's studio was "once in a brick factory with massive brick kilns, reminiscent of the gruesome ovens of Nazi concentration camps and 'athanor' the alchemist's "cosmic oven, where spirit and matter are in an ongoing process of creation and destruction."
I'd set my book aside for months and months. It was one famished day in late September while driving around with my friend David that we pulled in to The Taboun because it looked like a quick, healthy falafel meal. It wasn't quick. I had time to learn that taboun is Hebrew for the little beehive ovens. And my order of falafel took so long, I had time to let the outside mural of the monastery nestled in the hills of the Holy Land speak to me and it was clear as a bell it was the time to start the next draft.
One day last week I contemplated that "that miraculous metaphorphosis of flour, water, and yeast, becomes a living thing shortly after the introduction of the yeast, the metabolic action of which is fermentation. Rising bread is a warm and companionable being, if you listen to Rose, who, after a couple of decades of pulling loaves from the oven, can still pose the question, "Could it be that I'm only completely happy now when a bread is happening [the italics are mine] somewhere nearby?"" (- Michael Batterberry)
And I contemplated, "[M]y serious interest in wine began about eight years ago, the same time I started working seriously on this bread book. It was at the Huia vineyard in South New Zealand, when the vintner was explaining to me why he had to cool down the fermenting wine to prevent undesirable flavors, that it hit me how incredibly similar the process of making bread is to that of making wine. Both rely on yeast fermentation, time, and temperature to produce fantastic flavors in the end product. The wild yeast for wine is present on the grapes' skin; for bread it is present on the wheat." (- Rose Levy Beranbaum)
And after months of open-ended inquiry regarding the book regarding the symbolism of the Eucharist, it came upon me like a wisp that wanders to reveal the sun.
Dan asked me about said book recently. Ah, it's fermenting. No wine before its time.
images homemade potato bread " Oh, and the wine was bottled by my uncle!" says my_amii and Hearth by Mooch (who lives "in the City of Dreaming Spires" and posts an image a day) and Bread and Water, A.D. 1999 by Carol Cole, sculpture made with found objects (138 plastic bread bag closers and 98 plastic water bottle caps)