22 Apr, 2016 Newsletter

22 April 2016

Fear is a limited subject, but love isn’t….If I had my way, words wouldn’t mean a thing.

Tim Buckley

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.

Articles: BELLEGARDE was selected as of one America’s top ten bread bakeries of 2016. It’s a trade publication, Dessert Professional, that I used to read during lunch breaks at baking school SFBI. Pretty cool to be on the footsteps of the Pantheon. Vindicating. When they asked me for a headshot, I sent one, but requested that they use our group portrait instead of my own.  I sign the checks, but my coworkers are the ink in that pen. Water makes a fountain, not sculpture.  Tish the editor was very gracious and helpful, so we thank her too for her ears and support. And of course if it weren’t for the persistence, integrity, and patience of our customers—commercial and public—who have stuck through our passion the past three years, none of it would matter. None of it. None of it. Even if we don’t see the thousands of people who eat our bread each week, the bond is deep and the nodes are now roots. Without spending a dollar on hyperbole, PR, or advertisements, we hope that we’ve proven the value of sincerity, honesty, and hard work. It’s not so much that those values “pay off”; it’s that they steer one away from the temptation of success. Whatever that is. Passion has no bank. We’ve made our mistakes and have our faults—vulnerability is the oxygen of life—but the intent of desire to do well, to do good, for others through ourselves, will never snuff. We thank those in our lives who made us possible. Hope this link works: article.

Retail Bread: Please send me an email at bellegardebakery@gmail.com if you’d be interested in picking up bread from the bakery; we currently bake our country bread Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; we’ve also begun to bake a beautiful whole-grain RYE BREAD on Wednesdays. Pick up is available from 7am until 1pm on any of those days. $9/each.

Pizza Night: Our Pizza Night at Paradigm Gardens this past Monday night was incredible. About a 100 folks came out and we had a wonderful time: the weather was impeccable as the friendship and fodo. Adrian at Ancora graced us with his skills, talent, and patience. And Jess Stokes of Rock, Paper, Pie graced us with her nonpareil whole grain pies. We proved, again, that whole grains can taste good, better, beyond. Changing the paradigm at Paradigm Gardens. Evangelizing with flavor. One more pizza night will be in held in late May, before we begin with a full-time show in the Fall.

Puppets: The amazing Bread and Puppet of Vermont are traveling through New Orleans and BELLEGARDE was honored to bake bread for their local performances. It was truly special to provide, however small, a part of the magic and artistry and spirit of resistance which pulses through the thick lungs of these incredible people. These aren’t armchair crew socks from mom’s closet, but beautifully hand-crafted pieces woven rich within the social fabric of critique, revolution, and democracy: entertainment with the entrée of bread is a staff of cultural life. We were so glad to help. Speak your values with loud loud words! Sunday show tickets are available here:

Bread Classes: There are no more spots in our May class…Our next bread class will be held on June 5th, 2016. Class will be held at the Bakery, from noon to 6pm, and everything will be provided: lunch, breads to take home, equipment, and flour. The purpose of the class is to democratize bread. That means we’ll only use equipment found in typical home kitchens and no tool will be fancy: we want the pleasure of our craft to be opened and appreciated by everyone willing to take a patient crack. Encourage empowerment and persuade with flavor. No kitchen aids, no mystique, no gimmicks or cookbooks: pleasure can’t be bought. We’ll mill flour in house and the classes will be conducted by Graison and another Bellegarde baker. Classes are reserved to 14 spaces and tickets are $120 each, completely inclusive. Please email me if you are interested in attending.

Website: Some info on the grain being ground on Toledano Street is now here: Currently Milling. By being transparent and traceable, we hope not only to encourage other bakers and chefs in New Orleans to do the same but, eventually, make it the reality. Honesty should not be an option, nor should origin: in food, in love, in literature, or life. You know where everything else comes from: why not your flour, your grits?

Soul Food

Had a beautiful, loving week. But there is some rain in town this week, as well some pain, sickness, and death in the family. Which, in my experience, only serves to the tighten the bonds of life. So we say a prayer for those unable to help themselves, and hold steady the faith of moving on towards the brighter future which will only begin now. Remembering, learning, recently that pain is not an image, but merely a perspective.

A Note On The Periodic Table

The periodic table names two hundred & twelve elements, or atoms, the so-called building blocks. These elements are of a different order than the elements we call fire, air, earth, or water, each of which might be referred to as archetypal. Archetypal elements are made up of a combination of atoms, except for fire, which is made only of itself. Or which consumes itself in its very making. One branch of Buddhism claims space & consciousness as elements as well, as elemental as fire, air, earth, etc. Two hundred & twelve elements—the human body, coincidentally, contains two hundred & twelve bones, half of which are in the hands & feet. What if our purpose is simply to make more of this earth—more dirt—through our shit while we breathe & through our bodies once we stop? Would that be enough to be called a purpose? The world is about to run out of gallium, hafnium & indium, but zinc will not disappear until 2037. Zinc is what you take to make you dream. Or, rather, it is used to make your dreams more vivid. Are we really using it all up? What will we do when all the zinc is gone?

Nick Flynn