Monday 27 July 2015

Egyptians put bread in the tombs

Bread was once nourishing. Jesus was a fan, Thoreau too. Sandwiches were invented and families were brought up on the stuff. During the war, flour was bulked out with sawdust. Then we got Wonder Bread, which, for anyone not familiar with the concept of artificial bread, is artificial bread. It doesn’t mould. It doesn’t live, practically sawdust. Bread is chemically leavened, chemically preserved, “more the product of the embalmer’s art than the baker’s”. All of a sudden gluten was bad for us and everyone knew that it was especially bad for them, personally. You can find recipes for making pancakes… with cauliflower… Dieticians tell us to eat fat and protein. Others, only to eat things that are green. They tell us to go back to the forager’s diet, to a beginning full of nuts and seeds. They tell us to look over a major step in our evolution; that it’s no big deal that finally, with things like the bread made from our first experiments in farming grains 10,000 years ago, we had a constant source of calories, something we could store throughout the winter. No big deal that with bread, we evolved from hoping we’d find a deer to kill to masters of our own dinners.

Then I found the breads made by restaurant As. Great bread, alive, organic, hearty, chewy. Something you can keep using for a month. Add a bit of water, put it in the oven and it’s back to fluffy. Back to crusty. And the baguettes of Le Fournil deserve poems but for the fact they'll be old by lunch time. 

But these breads are exceptions. Much of the rest you find in Amsterdam will go un-reversibly stale within days. It’ll likely only be ¾ baked too, and flavourless. What to do with all those lemons in life? Make lemonade.

Two recipes for your leftover bread and a special mention.


Sunday 12 July 2015

India Yellow and fregola with green peas, mint and ricotta

Green Ground, Cooking Apple Green, Olive, Card Room Green, Breakfast Room Green, Green Smoke, Vert De Terre…  All the shades of nature available in a pot of paint. Armed only with a 2x2 cm square of colour, one must have nerves of steel to choose the right one. I should know: We're currently in the process of deciding between three different shades of yellow, one of which is positively mustard (India Yellow) versus the golden Print Room Yellow or Citron. I’m discovering what sort of stomach I have. 
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