Friday Bread Basket 6/3/22
Rage baking edition
Welcome to the Wordloaf Friday Bread Basket, a weekly roundup of links and items relating to bread, baking, and grain. As you know, I paused the bread basket last week after the horrific event in Uvalde, TX. It’s back this week, but in case you were wondering, as least as of right now (Friday morning) there have been 20 mass shootings in the US since that one. It is so reassuring to know we have such a “well-regulated militia” in this country.
Which brings me to Soleil Ho’s essay in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Limits of Comfort Food in a Time of National Horror. As much as anyone else, I turn to cooking and baking as an escape, but as the atrocities pile up, it gets increasingly difficult to find solace in it. As Ho writes, there is an alternative reason to get into the kitchen, one that might actually make the world a little better place: anger.
Anger won’t give you a post-shooting lasagna recipe. It won’t keep you lost in sentimental, hazy visions of bringing the world together over hot bowls of bean soup. Self-care matters, but it’s not the only action available to us. With the urgency of a jackhammer, anger rattles you into action.
In 2015, blogger and baker Tangerine Jones used the term “rage baking” to describe the way she turned to her kitchen to channel her grief and anger: feelings born from her specific experience of being Black in the United States. While part of her practice was centered on her anger via kitchen work, mutual aid work — feeding strangers the confections she made and holding space in her kitchen for difficult conversations — was another key pillar.
As long as we do not let anger sour the recipes themselves, the kitchen is as good a place as any other to begin the work of healing.
The Little Bakery that Could
I’m definitely finding solace in the new five-part Gravy Podcast series from the Southern Foodways Alliance, on the tiny North Carolina bakery that has launched so many celebrated bakers’ careers (including those of my friends Jen Lapidus—who built it—and Tara Jensen):
The little building with a metal roof and ovens with more than sixty square feet of stone hearth has been home to some of the most exciting baking in the country. It’s one of the places where naturally leavened, rustic breads gained a foothold in the South, where two artisanal flour mills got their start, and where multiple incredible bakers honed their craft.
(I sure wish Substack didn’t truncate social media embeds. Click through for the full, glorious image.)
Khatchapuri Fundraiser for Ukraine (This weekend!)
Polina Chesnakova, who is Georgian/Armenian and from Ukraine, is holding a khatchapuri workshop as a fundraiser for Ukraine this coming Sunday, at 1:30pm EST. Khatchapuri is an amazing Georgian cheese-filled stuffed bread. The open-faced one depicted in the tweet above is an adjaruli khatchapuri; the one Polina is teaching is an enclosed one known as imeruli khatchapuri.
Here are the details:
Who: Me and mom Larisa!
When: Sunday, June 5th, 1:30pm-3:15pm EST
Where: via Zoom
What: A virtual 1 hour and 45-minute, cook-along class, where you will learn how make a basic yeasted dough and how to fill and shape it to make Imeruli Khachapuri (cheese bread) and Lobiani (bean-stuffed bread). We’ll also make a Georgian summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes tossed in a spiced walnut dressing. We will make sure there will be plenty of time for questions, conversation, and stories.
Why: To raise money for our family in Ukraine. We have almost 45 relatives scattered throughout the country - some were internally displaced, others were able to flee to Estonia and Germany, but are receiving little help there. The adults are out of work and they all have families (many of them large) to look after. 100% sales will go towards helping them pay for food, medical supplies, other essentials, and to help support their families.
How: This is a cook-along class offered live via Zoom. Two days before class, we will email you the recipe packet and a Zoom access link. Even if you can’t make it to the class live, you will have access to a recorded version of the class afterwards.
If you cannot make the class, there will be a recording, so don’t let that stop you from signing up!
That’s it for this week’s bread basket. Here’s hoping we all have a peaceful weekend.