Welcome to this week’s edition of the Friday Bread Basket, a roundup of links and items related to bread, grains, and baking.
But first, a quick note: I’ve long wanted to get Wordloaf to be more of a conversation than a one-way street with me always at the wheel. While I encourage you to use the comment section under every post to, well, comment on my posts, I’d like there to be opportunities for people to talk more with one another and to initiate conversations about whatever is on your minds.
To that end, I’m going to try something new, beginning next week: I’m going to send out a email on Monday that will serve as an open thread, a place for you to share your thoughts with me and, more importantly, with one another. I’ll say more about it then, but I hope you’ll feel inspired to participate. This place only exists thanks to all of you, and is made all the better by your active involvement with it.
Roxana Jullapat, of LA’s Friends & Family bakery, and author of one of my 2021 faves, Mother Grains, is now the subject of a very cool artwork by Lucia Prancha that I wish I could go see in person. Here’s how Roxana describes it:
Three years ago, artist @luciaprancha asked me if she could shoot video for an art project she was working on based on a 1941 script by Bertolt Brecht. She took images of us making bread and close ups of my messed up baker hands. Her multimedia show opens this weekend and will be on exhibit until November @table_chicago
If you are in the Chicago area, I hope you can get over there to check it out (report back if you do!).
For the rest of us, there is a page on Lucia’s website with some nice documentation.
This isn’t strictly bread-related, but I lay claim to anything made out of flour as my domain. And in any case, this one is not to be missed. My friend—and one of the bestest writers I know—Terrence Doyle wrote a beautiful piece for Eater Boston about the hospital-adjacent noodle joint that became a refuge when his father went through an extended health crisis:
A bowl of noodles — no matter how good — can’t save a life or blunt the pain and fear one feels as they are mourning or preparing to mourn the death of a loved one. Of course they can’t. But a bowl of noodles can offer some comfort, however fleeting. I’d been living off of coffee and doughnuts for weeks; the noodles — piquant and chewy and toothsome — were right there, just under my nose.
I also loved this Eater LA story about how the 75-year old baking institution Diamond Bakery was saved from closure after its founders decided to retire. Not only did new ownership arrive just in time to keep the bakery running, in the process they handed over part of the business’ future profits to its long-time employees:
Hollander and Weinstein’s new business model now includes shares set aside for employees, with funds from those shares paying out bonuses and retirement packages. They’ve also given everyone a raise. “We didn’t have it nearly as hard as they had it for a year,” says Weinstein. “I want them to know that we appreciate them.”
Not only is the tale wonderful, it’s full of beautiful photos of the bakery in action.
That’s it for this week’s Friday Bread Basket. I hope you all have a peaceful and glutinous weekend. See you all on Monday for our first ever open-thread post.