20 Jan, 2016 Newsletter

20 January 2016

“If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end.”

Bayard Rusti – The most unsung hero of the 20th Century

Our emails, once a week, will keep New Orleanians informed about the State of Grain in our city and our region. As you know, Bellegarde is the only bakery in between Asheville and Arizona that stone-mills its own flour. We strive to source organic grains that we mill fresh and bake into healthy and delicious whole grain breads. We are convinced that the health issues which plague our city—obesity, violence, mis-education, ecological and cultural erosion—are bound to the lack of fresh food. Food access is a systemic Policy issue: everyday that we bake whole grain bread with freshly milled flour, we tweak one more nerve in the System. Each nerve pinch is our desire to re-establish our region as a self-efficient food economy and re-create the cuisine of New Orleans with fresh ingredients…a revolutionary Gordian knot.

We all speak the language of food and we all seek the pleasure of flavor. What more perfect medium to communicate change than with bread? Pandering to demand in a regional food system is not as important as nurturing supply: quality will dictate quantity. Help us democratize that staff of life.

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I am in Sweden for two weeks, in the penumbra of Sebastian Boudet. Sebastian is a nonpareil baker, father, mentor, friend, educator, and iconoclast. He was raised in Paris, in a bakery, and has been the forefront of bread’s Counter-Revolution in Sweden and Europe for the past 15 years: taking it out of the factory and large companies and putting back into the true fabric of life. He advocates for transparency, traceability, exclusivity, integrity, wholesomeness, and passion in our most sacred of foods. We are what we eat: the ingredients and methods which go into our food dictate who / how we are. The ways in which we value our food—its creation, its tradition, its stewards—reflect how we esteem ourselves, our communities, our families. It is tremendously humbling to be here and to see the incredible progress that’s been made in this country of 9 million. Louisiana has 5 million wonderful folks, so I figure it’ll only take about half the work. Ha. The momentum of love is overwhelming, and we wish a belated birthday to that other Counter-Revolutionary, Martin Luther King, Jr. He was named after an individual who wanted the purity of intent divested from bureaucracy of power. And MLK put the blood back in our veins.

It is a great honor to have been awarded an Artisan award from StarChefs.com: http://www.starchefs.com/cook/events/rising-stars/2016/new-orleans. There will be a Gala in New Orleans in February for all the recipients, and I am very grateful to have been chosen. I am particularly honored to be on the stage with Michael Gulotta and Blake Abene; these two individuals have offered unyielding support and enthusiasm for everything we do at BELLEGARDE. If it weren’t for every single friend and coworker at the bakery—past and present—there’d be none of it. Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Our New Stone Mill: Our mill is officially in New Orleans. Please visit our website to see pictures: https://bellegardebakery.wordpress.com/the-mill/ There is a short essay about our mill, and its importance to us. A tremendous amount of gratitude, awe, and respect go out to Andrew of Elmore Mountain Bread in Vermont who built the mill, like his breads, from scratch. Andrew is a fish out of water in these times; no words or gestures can explain our thanks. If you’d ever like to visit our mill, please call 827 0008 to schedule a time.

Soul Food: Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.