Tuesday 7 July 2020

The Millefiori Project: Exploring the science, history, and culture of gluten-free ingredients through articles, videos, live classes, and more!

If you’ve followed this blog for a long time (in which case, hi, and thanks!), you will know that some years back I started talking about my intentions of writing a book, right around the time I started talking about starting a bakery. While I finally got a tiny baking business officially started a couple years ago, the would-be book continued existing only as an ever-expanding collection of files on my computer. It turns out that even a microbakery takes up a ton of time and energy, (who could've guessed??) and I found it harder to prioritize writing when - blunt as the truth may be - people buy bread, and writing was unpaid work. Even harder was trying to navigate the line of which results of that work I could afford to put out for free, versus what I ought to save for The Book. Hardest of all, I was having to pick and choose which of the zillions of fascinating findings I collected were the best fit for this book, which meant at some point I had to arbitrarily decide I was “done” with a topic, and also leave out a lot of worthwhile stuff just because a book wasn’t the best medium for it, and…well, I think you get the idea.

So, I came up with a better idea. Introducing: The Millefiori Project. 

It’s sort of like a cookbook, except I’m putting it out a few pages at a time (starting right now instead of having to wait for a faraway publication date), and some of those pages are videos. This project is the natural continuation of the last several years of my work investigating our foods from the overlapping perspectives of chemistry, history, and culture. I can’t describe how exciting it is to finally bring all the pieces together! The result is a place to share all the research, experiments, and other discoveries that don’t fit at the bakery or in a cookbook, and even more importantly, it allows the level of community discussion and collaboration that are essential to progressing our collective understanding of baking without gluten.  

I may be a bit biased, but I believe if I do my job properly, the work I’m doing here will be relevant to the fields of culinary history, food science, and various adjacent social sciences, as well as being accessible and interesting to the broader audiences interested in food and/or culture. 

I don’t want the future availability of that information to be subject to the whims of a publishing company that decides when or if it gets another printing run (let alone a revised/updated edition) based on how profitable they think the gluten-free diet is at a given point in time (because despite the broad applicability of the research, any book produced from this work would at its heart be a cookbook, and a gluten-free one at that). This is an important consideration when writing about subjects with frequent research developments, yes, but also vital to acting in accordance with my values. By making my work accessible in real time, it also creates opportunities for discourse, collaboration, and community - all of which take the project to far more interesting places than I could reach as a solo researcher.

You can find more information about the work I'm doing, follow the project, and get involved on the website, Patreon, Instragram, and Twitter. The first live video class, coming very soon, will be a sourdough workshop!

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