Monday, August 30, 2010
Bread, the first lesson in food
It all started last winter when I was looking for a whole grain bread for my family that didn't contain high fructose corn syrup-- an additive that, as I will discuss in a later post, has no upside nutritionally speaking, but is known to contribute to the epidemic of obesity we are seeing today.
Unfortunately, what I found in syrup-free bread was either tasteless or required a mortgage payment to take home. That's when I recalled the wonderful homemade wheat bread I had at a friend's party some time ago. I wondered if Emily, the woman who baked it, would be willing to show me how to make my own, so I called her. The next thing I knew, I had booked her to come to my house to teach me and a handful of friends how to make bread from scratch. The class was so successful—we even asked everyone to pitch in $15 to cover Emily's expenses—that we talked about doing it again.
That was the beginning of A Teachable Feast, which I guess is a venture to bring food knowledge to people in small friendly groups, in my kitchen, or yours. There are a lot of things about food that I have yet to learn, and instead of being embarrassed that I've never made a pot roast, or used a pressure cooker, I am going to arrange small workshops and find friends who are passionate about cooking to share what they know. I have two cooks already planning their workshops—demystifying that pressure cooker, making homemade yogurt, etc. One course we're hoping to offer might be called "Taking the 'eew' out of Tofu."
This fall, my friend Lester Esser, a local personal chef, is leading several guided shopping tours of his local farmers' market, to help people get the most out of the best in fresh local food.
You can follow Lester's fun and delicious blog at: www.lesteresser.com
My friend, Emily Lisker, the bread afficionado, will be leading a pressure cooker class, and both a beginner's breadmaking and an advanced breadmaking class in the months to come.
You can follow her thoughts on food and cooking at: www.theinsomniacskitchen.blogspot.com
A Teachable Feast will be part personal and educational blog, and part Community College, where you can learn directly from a growing list of food practitioners who will show you how to cook , but also maybe how to think differently about how you get your food and why it makes a difference.
A Teachable Feast will also give you links to great food resources touching on everything from gardening and local farms to food politics and economics, and everything in between.
Watch this blog for postings about workshops in and around Boston and Providence, and feel free to send me your ideas and suggestions.
One last note for now: I came up with the name, A Teachable Feast, as a riff from the Hemingway novel, to remind you (and me, mostly) to keep learning about what you eat—how did it get to your plate?, what's in it?, how will it help or harm you? why are you eating it? There is nothing more essential.