Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Miss Bread

A friend of mine asked what I thought of the Kindle recently. And I said that it was like reading without the subtext of paper: pages, typeface, cover art, crinkles, and heft. It's an advance, but also a sterilization of the experience.

And that got me thinking about food, and wondering if my 12 meals a week in restaurants in various places is the Kindle of eating.

Which isn't to say I'm complaining exactly. There is something nice about the proximity of the decision of what to eat and the acquisition of food. I can sit at my desk, think, "I'd like Thai tonight," and then poof, there's Thai. No pouring through cookbooks, no trips to the grocery store, no searches in vain for exotic spices, no prep work, no dishes.

What gets lost in the mix is the subtext of the food. The ingredients in their raw form go through amazing transformations to become dinner. Colors blend, flavors mellow, bread rises (how amazing is that!), and things that were poking their leaves out of the ground hours earlier become salad.

So the other side of Grubbus for me is the unsterilization of food for the days I get to spend at home. And the center of that, at the moment, is bread. Bread makes me happy.

And here's why I'm not ready to give up my imperfect, inconvenient food for the sleek Kindle-like take out. That Ciabatta up in the picture next to the cinnamon rolls? It was light and airy, but nearly as light and airy as the Ciabatta from Central Market. The cinnamon roles were pretty, but not as pretty as any commercial bakery worth a visit. The reason I'm not ready to give them up is that food is more than it's isolated characteristics. Food has the taste of the hours of subtext that goes into it.

So, here's to the unsterilized, the hands on, the substantial. Here's to food you need to think about a day in advance, and clean up from late into the night. Here's to the unreproducible results of the help of small children.

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