3 August, 2016 Newsletter

3 August 2016

“It is only in darkness that we can see the stars.”

Martin Luther King, Jr
I believe this was borrowed, in some extent, from Hegel

Our emails, once a week, will keep New Orleanians informed about the State of Grain in our city and our region. 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. And each nerve pinched 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. Splinter by splinter by splinter. Time will always teach that the easy way becomes the hard way.

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New Blog: “A mentor’s role is to disrupt fear, never to displace it. Without that blood of doubt, wed lack the oxygen of substance.” A new blog is up, about my friend and mentor Sebastien Boudet. Please click this link to read more: Blog

Nature: Emerson reminds that, “Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.” What an incredible, incredible, incredibly beautiful conviction. Such strong and compulsive words. I can’t believe it…

Mentors: This is from my journal, written about chef Chris Bianco of Phoenix (which he is in his own right), whom I met this weekend: “Dinner last night with Alon, with Chris. At Lark restaurant, on Seneca and Madison streets in Seattle, by a copy center and auto garage…oysters, fish cheeks, wet rice with bycatch octopus and Calabrian chilies: king salmon, tarragon butter, beef Carpaccio, squid ink pasta, Sonora crackers, oysters like briny butter slabs with all the moisture salted, creamed—it was like biting through thick silk, the size of a fava bean…and just looking at Chris. Listening to Chris. I feel this guy, not so much for his words, but for the way he speaks them. The way he massages meaning, the faltering and the sputtering and the body language. Beneath the bloody legs of the 2010 Sicilian vintage, the creamy rosé, the food, the lighting—this man rose like flames higher than smoke. He leaps…And I sat glazed, glued, bemused, tired. Who the fuck is this guy? Such vernacular, colloquial wisdom. Street poet, rough and portly and tossed like St. Paul. This man is democracy, the echelon of top tiers, such truth and Whitmanic yawp. Pulse. Deep breaths. Taste, talent; not quite humility, but a relentless vulnerability. A confident vulnerability. Where the rest of us skirt…He was open, wide, like a glass house. The man is a window, so sincere and attentive. He is ego, overcome, like a river run its banks: re-solved to its flood, the land and levee mere partners. He, Chris, made me feel big instead of small. I felt, I was made to feel, like a man instead of a dawdling, prodigal boy. The only problem meeting him was the divorce afterwards; when you accept your father (mentors) as a man, it sets you two apart. He is no longer spirit, but flesh. He wounds, his life is now your wounds. And that distance, that humanity, makes you his son. When you understand the origin of light, shadows lose their power. And Chris reminds that we are all adrift in the same seas, under the same carpet of stars; but it’s in looking up together that we feel life. It’s in looking up that we recognize constellations together, blink cohesion in tacit understanding, toss flags of Tibetan prayer into the wind. Make food to please others, because we are, all too often, unable to please ourselves.  Share ourselves.”

BUY DIRECTLY FROM THE BAKERY: Send an email to bellegarde.bread@gmail.com to buy bread directly from the bakery. Orders are due by 9:30am for the following day’s pick up.

We are selling our COUNTRY BREAD, $9 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
We are selling our COUNTRY RYE, $9 on Wednesdays.
We are selling our CIABATTA BREAD, $12 onTuesday through Sunday.
We are selling our whole grain, organic polenta, corn grits, and wheat flours—stone milled fresh, in 2lbs or 20lbs bags.

Pickup directly from the bakery a 7am until 1pm.

Grain Gathering: Baker Steve and I, along with chef Alon Shaya, traveled this week to the Grain Gathering in Washington. It was, simply and sincerely, an incredible trip. “The annual conference brings together professional and home bakers, maltsters, brewers, distillers, millers, farmers, wheat breeders, chefs, food writers, wood-oven builders, and people who come to enjoy “summer camp for bread lovers.  Over 40 workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations explore a range of topics which may include the best of whole grain baking, milling techniques, brewing beer, baking in a wood fired oven, starting a whole grain bakery, growing a regional grain network, the science of bread, or comparing flavors and functionalities in a variety of wheats and other grains.” Check it out here: GG

Soul Food

What is the dominant mode of experience at the end of the twentieth century? How do people see things, and how do they expect to see things? The answer is simple. In every field, from business to politics to marketing to education, the dominant mode has become entertainment….In other centuries human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom.

Michael Crichton,  Writer