7 Jan, 2016 Newsletter

7 January 2016

“The art of life is to save enough of yourself from every disaster to begin again in something like your old image.”

Murray Kempton

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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Blog Posts: Below is an excerpt from a recent essay. It is a selfish, and vulnerable, note. I hope that everyone had an incredible New Year’s; time is what we make it and we couldn’t make anything without others. I am tremendously grateful and sincerely indebted to the angels of mercy and my coworkers. Friendships put the air in our lungs and I am so grateful to work exclusively with friends.

Two days ago marked the third anniversary of my signing a lease at the bakery. It was a flurry of activity, a genesis of an entire constellation of desire. It was a gestation for a life bigger than my own, and in my lust, as in the words of Murray Kempton, the revolution killed its fathers. But that’s the coin of parenthood; a catharsis of self in order to give, knowing that all which is taken will somewhere else, somehow, be given. Without water to cross, there are no bridges. And it was amongst this commerce of intent, as well as the take out boxes and cigarette butts, that this heap of a bakery was fleshed-out. But, I think through it all, the bakery was always there. Not only on the literal level, because Gambino’s bakery was in the same building for decades, but on a spiritual footing. In the same vein of the flame being in a match, or blood being in a heart. The bakery, more than anything else, is an attempt at presence. It’s a commitment which fewer and fewer people these days are mature enough to make. Maybe because we do not value time, but only our appropriation of it: we belong to the watch. If we mistrust time, we abuse ourselves. And the willingness to work—the passion to endeavor—is a palm losing callous now. Our success cannot be measured against competition with others; success is scaled by the metric of failure. In the same way that only love can lead from hate, not vice versa; engagement and presence create resolve. And this need, particular in my life, was husbanded the bakery. I have no intent to dress in the rags of a saint or martyr; but my life since adolescence always demanded agency. A sense of right, of wrong, of faith, loyalty, respect—a concrete pantheon of guiding principles, black and white churches, knives against the secularization and capitalization of spirituality. For a while, I tried being everywhere and I ended up nowhere. I got in the way of myself; like most of us do. It was my willingness to know that I was wrong which allowed me the splinter of refraction in the perspective. Enter technicolor.

continue reading here: https://bellegardebakery.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/coda/

News: From the wide world of bread. I was fortunate enough to attend this conference in August, and in exchange my co-participants were forced to eat 900 cookies I baked at 5am on a Saturday morning. The power of forgiveness is redemptive; at least the cookies were sweet. Great article regardless: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/magazine/bread-is-broken.html?_r=0

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 Wren of Elmore Mountain Bread in Vermont who built the mill 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 visit.