2 Subway. A New York Day, 1992.

Earlier, in the afternoon, another thin man, this one white, much older, wrinkled, missing front teeth, asked for money on the lower level of a subway station. He was unkept. He looked at me. And he said something. But I. I shook my head and he moved on, waddling, his legs far apart with crotch…

The Sweater

This story is based on an encounter with an elderly woman in Prague a few years after the fall of the Soviet Union. An inflation had destroyed the savings of retirees. This woman is selling her possessions to survive. Sweater Prague, 1993  At the top of a wide stairway bringing subway passengers to a huge…

Starch Gelatinization and Starch Conversion to Sugar in Bread Dough

For much of the 19th century, American breads, were often made with cornmeal and If you can get a bread dough into the gelatinizing temperature range appropriate a given bread grain — in the 19th century American context, rye, and corn — gelatinizes multiple changes will take place altering the taste and texture of the…

Recipes for American Bread 1620-2022 Talk October 27, 20202

A fifteen minute period will be set aside for attendees to show and talk about historic American breads. You may work from your own recipes or use ones I suggest. I have not tested all of these – so might also look at other versions by searching on the recipe names and/or ingredients. Please keep…

Flatbread for Bread History Seminar #34

Flatbreads. The geography of bread is divided between the peoples of the loaf bread, and peoples of the flatbread. This last seminar of the Spring 2022 session is the second seminar devoted to flatbreads. The talk is being given by Mohad Ahmar Alvi. The subject concerns purity in Hindu bread culture. As there is a…

Galen (129 – c. CE 216) The Key to Early Modern Bread Recipes

Galen was the most important medical writer prior to the modern era. All of the Early Modern health manuals and medical texts relied on his work. The shadow of his writings on bread influence us still. When one goes to a bakery and fails to find barley bread, rye bread, and flatbreads one is seeing…

Thomas Cogan: Frumenty is Natural, while Bread is Artificial (1584)

I am working through the Thomas Cogan (1545?-1607) bread and grain sections from his influential work, Haven of Health (1584). Like the author of health manuals today, Cogan declares himself academically qualified to write on medical matters. He had two Oxford degrees, a Master of Arts, and a Batcheler of Physicke. He was a working…

Maison Rustique 1619 Markham Edition

I want to start our entry into this astonishingly amazing text with the following paragraph. As you see, it is not the first paragraph of this chapter. It is the most all encompassing poetically written description of what bread meant in Early Modern European culture that I have come across. Amongst many of us, the…

The Coarse Cheat, Maison Rustique, 1619, Gervase Markham, ed.

(Notes for my talk on the Markham edition of Maison Rustique March 31, 2022) ” the next to this is course cheate bread, the which is made of the coursest meale as being boulted as cleane from the branne as it can possibly be got, and the boulter which is for this purpose must bee a…