For Christmas, Santa brought me some cooking things! (Who woulda guessed?) I got Come to the Table, a book about the Slow Food movement, its food producers and some of their recipes. I also got Alice Waters' cookbook, The Art of Simple Food. Alice is considered by many to be the founder of Slow Food in America. For those who aren't familiar, Slow Food is the antidote to fast food. Slow food is locally produced--you know the farmer who raised it. Slow food is sustainably produced--no rain forests cleared to graze cows. Instead, it is usually produced in small scale agriculture, family farms and such. And Slow Food is consumed in settings that affirm relationships. No burgers on the run. Instead we share it with people we love. Check it out: www.slowfoodusa.org
And then there was the bread. Santa gave me a couche which is a piece of heavy linen canvas used for raising French baguettes, and also this fancy reed basket called a brotform used for raising large loaves. I made a rye bread with caraway. I had to try it right away. Check it out:
And to give you a sense of scale:
Incidentally, if you want to learn to bake old fashioned loaves like these, its really quite easy (especially if your baking environment is somewhat thermally stable, which mine is not, neither the pioneers' drafty log cabins). The best starting point is the book Bread Alone by Daniel Leader.
Hope your Christmas was full of joy and peace!