Sunday 14 February 2010

Bread: A Little Manifesto

"It isn't tradition that assures the survival of bread; it is bread that assures the survival of tradition."

So reads a quote on the wall of a cosy French bakery downtown. I go there just to drink the rich, dark coffee and linger among the aromas given off by hot ovens, those of buttery pastries and warm, crusty loaves. I can't eat any of them, of course, as they are all laden with wheat flour. I must be content to simply smell, to look, and then attempt to coax the palette of flours I can use into a decent recreation of the things I remember. It often takes a lot of coaxing.

Some say that, to be satisfied with gluten-free food, one must learn to appreciate the ingredients for what they are, and stop trying to make them into "the real thing." This is where I must disagree. This is why that quote feels so relevant to me. It isn't just about texture, or taste, or appearance. It's about the way food - bread, in particular - represents so much more than sustenance or even indulgence. It's representative of culture, of tradition. It is universal, iconic, yet intimate. This is why we need bread. We can nourish our bodies with hundreds of delicious, wonderful foods. Yet it is bread that has always brought people together at a table. It is bread that so often represents home and heritage. We don't need to relinquish that simply because we must live without gluten.

Admittedly, it often takes a lot of effort. That's why this blog is here. It's for the recipes I develop, and things I discover, in my quest for good food. Not simply settling for "good, considering it's gluten-free." I mean just plain good. And I'd love for you to join me.

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