Friday Bread Basket 5/28/21
Cheesy Beans Edition
Before we unwrap the cloth napkin on this week’s bread basket, I have a brief announcement to make: I have finally launched my new Airsubs Friday Nite Pizza Party bake-along pizza series. The inaugural edition will happen on the last Friday in June at 6PM EST† , this one focused on the easy-to-make and always excellent bar pizza. I’ll spare you the details and just send you to the Airsubs listing if it’s something you might be interested in joining.
(†I’m open to pushing the class time to 7PM if that is better for those in other time zones; alas it’s hard to schedule a live cook-and-eat class like this that can satisfy all comers. Do let me know if the extra hour helps, though.)
My friend Nicola Miller, writer of the ever-wonderful, ever-encyclopedic newsletter, Tales from Topographic Kitchens, has penned a love letter for Suffolk News to cheesy beans on toast, which is the British cousin of bean-and-cheese quesadilla (and more involved dishes like bean enchiladas). She even spends time discussing what kind of sparkling wine pairs best with this humble but no-less-perfect meal.
No, not the one with ham and pineapple (which I happen to love), but instead a pizza baked on the slopes of an active volcano, in Guatemala (and not Hawaii, at least not yet), by David Garcia, a 34-year-old accountant:
In a rocky area that leads to the Pacaya crater and converted to a makeshift kitchen, Garcia spreads the dough on a metal platter that can resist temperatures up to 1,000°C (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit), slathers it with tomato sauce, a generous helping of cheese, vegetables or pieces of meat. Wearing protective clothing from head to his military style boots, Garcia places the pizza on the lava. After ten minutes on the 200 to 300°C hot rocks the pizza is done.
And you thought building that wood-fired oven in your backyard showed just how serious you were about your pizza making.
My bud Amy Halloran wrote a lovely post this week about natural history leaflets and pamphlets, a genre of publication that is no more, but should be. Amy discusses the Cornell nature study leaflets, which were published between 1896 and 1901 to teach teachers and students all about the study of natural history. She explains what is so great about these booklets, and even relates them back to her own practice of bread baking:
I adore this style of writing. So inviting! So encouraging of kids participating in the growing process by using their senses. Reading these bulletins, I feel more relaxed about the idea of learning — even scientific terms! And I think about the importance of observation while baking bread, and how much knowing terms does & does not contribute to my knowing bread.
At the end of the post, she sends people to a Artisan Grain Collaborative survey on how people think about and purchase grains, which you should fill out. And when you do, be sure to email Amy and let her know, because it’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of two copies of her essential book, The New Bread Basket.
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. I hope you all have a peaceful and memorable holiday weekend.