Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fall daze and confessions

I must admit there was a time when I didn't think that I would be at this point. Would the wheat even grow? Now that it has and the harvest has been sucessful I must note the fact that I have never baked a loaf of bread in my life. Maybe I have- a long time ago with my mother but I couldn't recite or even recall any particulars of the process. I have kneeded bread, looked at loaves of bread in the oven and smelled them on my counter but, with the exception of 'the bread maker' (a machine that requires you only to add ingredients at the right time in the right consistency- I am not sure if you even touch the bread with your hands or not?) I have never been through the process. Without relying on our friendly bag of Robin Hood white flour, how do we deal with grains? Don't you need a millstone or something? Would a mortar and pestle work? What about a blender? (any suggestions are welcome as comments but I don't expect anyone to coment because these were almost rhetorical questions simply to cast any interesting transition to a pitch I wanted to make for...

a granary in Powell River, B.C.- a wonderful operation working at the community level to enhance the social component of grains and breads for people. There is definitly a kind of historical calm that follows the sound of the grindstones and the smell of the fresh flour. Fresh flour, Valued added processing, a personal relationship with a community and individuals is exactly who the local grain initiative wants to work with! (When I find out their information, I will put a link so contact can be made) This is exactly the type of thing we need to be willing to pay more for. This operation has benefits to numerous sectors of social life, local economies and bread quality. What are these things worth? We need more than ever to allow food to present its hidden 'values' -the way it comes into being, exchanges hands and is consumed has value.

Grains were undoubtably the first cultivated food crops to work their way into social life. Socializing was embedded in the process. Where that opportunity exists take it. In a dominant food system that is trying harder and harder to desocialize food relations and socialize food presentation, find the alternatives and the chance you take on them will be worth the extra monetary cost. I can get 10 pounds of apples at a farm less than a kilometer away from a store where there are apples from New Zealand all shiny on the shelves. When's the last time you knew who baked that piece of bread you toasted in the morning? Who ground the flour that made our spaghetti- I cannot say anymore. Its a maze of relations and I get lost just thinking about tracing the processes. But I am trying to imagine and be a part of a different course.

I am currently talking to some friends- arranging for some wheat land for springtime. If I can do five times what I did this year and still keep it manageable by hand this will work out perfectly. in year three, 10 times that and then the following year I will provide some local grain to a local mill and that bread will be at our local farmers market. For now, I'll just share this loaf with my family and some friends.

I cannot give an exact date on when this bread will be made and eaten and I cannot guarantee another post before the 13th of November- as I will be in Cuba with my family (there is the whole issue of sickening amounts of fossil fuels from planes and the health of our planet and atmosphere as a result. My awareness and struggle with this issue must count for something. I do plan to see community and urban food systems operating in Havana.) Lets say that it will be a late november loaf. Until I write again.

I know that I am dragging this bread thing out like its such a huge deal and trying to make it such a huge deal etc... well, I feel that it is a huge deal and since I am not trying to please any corporate shareholders I will bake when I have time

This breadblog will still be here. Check in again at the end of November!


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  • At 3:28 AM , Blogger pangea-gondwanaland said...

    Very articulate individual. Not only knowledgeable but motivated.

    Not a discouraged rant against the relegation of food production to one cog in a mammoth production/output system (inherent in the structures of capitalist modernity), but a refreshing appeal to individual and collective sentiment to reclaim and re-personalize food cultivation and consumption that will undoubtedly inspire others to act.

  • At 3:38 PM , Blogger driids said...

    Hope Cuba was a good time.

    I was wondering though, you mention making a loaf of bread, but that requires yeast (and possibly other ingredients, I really don't know), and I did some checking (very brief checking mind you, so I may be totally wrong) and yeast seems difficult to make (based primarily on the length of the instructions, which I didn't really read).
    Anyway, I think my point was going to be something about growing more than just the wheat... yeah, something like that.

  • At 8:38 AM , Blogger Local Grain Initiative said...

    Yeast is only required for leavened bread (bread that rises). Yeast is not a requirement to make bread. As for other ingredients, eggs and the like- they can all be found locally. Breads that rise are nice but Nann bread and pita breads are still tasty!


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