Lunch Hour Bread

As the turn of the twentieth century approached, New York was at the tail end of nearly a century of non-stop transfiguration. The post-Civil War war boom had been especially good to the industrialists and financiers of Manhattan. An inexhaustible supply of cheap labor from Europe had been stoking the fire of local industry (now…

Winter Sabbath Bread

“Thus shall the days as God designed, Improve my health, unbend my mind; And Monday morning, free from pain, Cheerful I’ll go to work again.“ The New England Farmer and Gardener’s Journal, 1838 Americans have had a complicated relationship with the Sabbath since the post-Revolutionary period, at least. Among the pious of colonial New England,…

Comfort Bread

“Look at them as they once were, and will be again…How entirely contented, and even joyous, are they! The humblest and hardest toilers are radiant with self-satisfaction, as if there were neither labor nor care to-morrow. They drink, and laugh and chat energetically and boisterously, as if they really relished it, and smoke, and sing…

Yuppie Bread

The word foodie was coined in 1980 by New York Times critic Gael Greene. It described a sensibility that was just taking hold among youngish, well-to-do New Yorkers who had developed an intense new relationship with food and restaurants, along with a taste for luxe ingredients—crème fraiche, sun-dried tomatoes, black walnuts—on an everyday basis. Upper-middle…

Nieuw Amsterdam Bread

“In New Netherlands as in every place where the Dutch plant a colony…Dutch ways, Dutch notions, the Dutch tongue lingered long. To this day, Dutch influence and Dutch traits, as well as Dutch names, are ever present and are a force in New York life.” Alice Morse Earle, Colonial Days in Old New York, 1896…

Bread for Acceptance

“It was about this time that my Father planned and founded a Club (that) met every Thursday evening, I think at the house of Abigail Jones, a coloured cook famous at that day…Most of the prominent men of ability and character in New York belonged to the club, which also through its members, invited strangers…

Industrial Bread

At the end of the turbulent, transformative nineteenth century, New York had become a manufacturing dynamo, powered by a constant inflow of foreign workers. The city’s ethnic and cultural character had always been varied, but decades of flux had left it fragmented, with working- and middle- and upper-class New Yorkers occupying virtually separate and mutually…

Jet Age Bread

Until the middle of the twentieth century, in the United States, gourmet cooking was something associated with precious, effete members of the fashionable upper class. It was about haute cuisine, served with great formality, but it was also about snails and calves’ brains and, possibly, chocolate-covered ants. Middle-class Americans weren’t encouraged to fuss over their…

Dainty Bread

“The new woman, in the sense of the best woman, the flower of all the womanhood of past ages, has come to stay — if civilization is to endure. The sufferings of the past have but strengthened her, maternity has deepened her, education is broadening her — and she now knows that she must perfect…

Purist Bread

The purist tradition is reactive. It’s a slightly highbrow, civilizing response to the enthusiasm American cooks, ably assisted by Madison Avenue, developed for factory-processed foods by the mid-twentieth century. Before canned vegetables and canned soup, cake mix and pudding mix and Cool Whip came to define normal, down-to-earth food style for virtually all Americans, cooking…

Bread for a Better World

“It is the wife, the mother only—she who loves her husband and her children as woman ought to love, and who rightly perceives the relations between the dietetic habits and physical and moral condition of her loved ones, and justly appreciates the importance of good bread to their physical and moral welfare—she alone it is,…

Inner Bread

This simple recipe, intended to provide scaffolding for improvisation and context for peaceful awareness, was created by Edward Espe Brown, then a monk-in-training at the tranquil northern California Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. It became a gateway bread experience for thousands, if not millions of newly-awakened home bakers in the 1970s. Espe continues to advocate for…