Loaf 2

Yes, it looks good. Thanks to #bakewithjack, I’ve got a second and a bit more experience and I can tell what is going on. Now onward to numbers three through five.

Nourishing Things

Things that have nourished people include these three. Sourdough, Polenta, and Commonplace Books. Two are simple foodstuffs, one is a keeper of the knowledge. All of them sustain people.

Sourdough is, or so it seems, simple. You mix flour and water. You wait. You add more flour and water. Then, eventually, it is filled with bubbles. There you have it. The thing that will raise your bread is ready to use.

Polenta, today, is coarsely ground yellow maize, coarse cornmeal. It is sustaining because you can eat it hot, like oatmeal. Or allow it to cool and become a loaf that can be grilled, fried, or roasted with topping to suit. Prior to corn being imported from the new world other grains had the same uses. Chestnuts, millet, chickpeas, and others were used. It is a flexible grain. You can include olive oil or butter, chopped jalapenos, a cheese of choice, these are the simplest of ways to modify polenta.

Commonplace Books is the way of keeping knowledge. Particularly, it was used by women before they were allowed to attend universities. There are notes in the margins of cookbooks. There are scrapbooks. There are books not know by this name. Do you have one? More? It sustains your personal knowledge base.

What sustains your life? These are three that sustain my life.

If You Are In the Lents Area

Where Woodstock crosses Foster, right before you get to I205 there is a bakery. Bella’s Italian Bakery, a straight forward name. Bella’s? Where did that come from? In the words of the owner.

Michelle’s Nonna called all the girls in the family “Bella” – so Bella is all of us here working to bring you a little Italy. We are proud to be a woman-owned, women-led business.

We’ve been there three times now. Once for a “how is this place?” visit, a Saturday. It was also the first anniversary of their opening the place. Lucky us! Packed, delicious, a man passing out tiramisu after we’d eaten. It was jovial, people sharing their meals. And on the menu, we saw that every Sunday they served lasagna and on Thursdays pizza. It’s also a store, wines, milk, bread, pastas, and more to go. We were beyond happy with the pastries. They were enough to drive out there for. But I’m being unfair, they serve breakfast and lunch foods. Italian train station sandwichs anyone? Yes, you don’t need to go for just a (wonderfully done) coffee and snack. You can go for more.

Every day we bake focaccia, house bread, pepperoni rolls, and seasonal savory flatbreads as well as both traditional and modern pastries: almond cakes, berry tartines, lemon ciambella, sweet rolls, cannoli, ricotta cheesecake, assorted cookies, and sfogliatelle (weekends only). We also do rotating seasonal specials inspired by our farm fresh deliveries. Stop by and see what we’re baking today!

Their Menu

So we went back. For lasagna. As good as what we’d had earlier.

And then last night, for pizza. A perfect Margarita Piazza. How often do you get a perfect pizza? OK, there’s lots of pizza in Portland. We’ll go back. Again and again. Because the place is so damn good.

So if you want to feel like you’re in Italy, go here.

Too Quiet, Too Long

I have been both. Brave women speak out. Listen. Especially the ending.

Since the Paris Agreement, global banks have invested 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars in fossil fuels. One hundred companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. The G20 countries account for almost 80% of total emissions. The richest 10% of the world’s population produce half of our CO2 emissions, while the poorest 50% account for just one-tenth. We indeed have some work to do, but some more than others.

Greta Thunberg

Don’t believe politicians when they say the emerging countries are going to pollute the world as they develop.

Thrillers By Type

This article is from Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Talking to Strangers, others) on the 60 or 70 thrillers he reads annually. He divides them into four genres.

“A Western takes place in “a world in which there is no law and order, and a man shows up and imposes, personally, law and order on the territory, the community.” An Eastern is “a story where there is law and order, so there are institutions of justice, but they have been subverted by people from within.” In a Northern, “law and order exists, and law and order is morally righteous, the system works.” (A prime example is, of course, Law and Order.) A Southern is “where the entire apparatus is corrupt, and where the reformer is not an insider but an outsider.”

There’s more of course. Read about it here

Sourdough Starter

Water, flour, salt. That is all it takes from you to have a loaf of bread. There are also microorganisms. From wheat, air, or your skin, one or more of them have wild yeast and lactobacilli. Or maybe all of them have both of them. They do the big work of transforming a glop of water and flour into what I’ll be eating in a couple of hours.

First Loaf #bakewithjack

I learned about how to do this from #bakewithjack. He, Jack, has a new bit on baking each Thursday. A bunch of them have been on sourdough. Including how to make a starter, what you see in the jar. He specifies the wholemeal rye as the source flour to use. But really, any flour will do. That video was my, ahem, starter in sourdough baking. His method is pretty fool-proof and it doesn’t waste anything – the cut the starter in half, pour the rest down the drain. That always put me off. Feeding a starter, throwing away half? What a waste! There’s another method also from Mike Greenfield about just eating the starter. That’s what scallion pancakes are for. But I prefer Jack’s method unless I’m hungry.

To get started you can watch Beginners Sourdough Loaf, Start to Finish. That covers everything. You’re referred to the “how to make starter” video. But everything else is shown in that video.

I’m now going through the pain of waiting for the loaf to cool so I can eat it. It’s just a couple of hours. I think I’ll watch 15 Mistakes Most Beginners Make. It’s from Mike Greenfield’s Pro Home Cooks. He has scads of videos on cooking. Great stuff.

Or maybe read about sourdough on Wikipedia. Another rabbit hole to go down into.

What You Want to Eat

Confession time. I’ll go to an Indian restaurant and look at the menu. Aloo Mutter? Palak Peneer? Malai Kofti? Ask me to tell you in English what they are and you’ll get a guess. It doesn’t really matter if I know what I’m ordering, Indian food is by and large great stuff to eat. It helps that I’m an omnivore and like it all. And If I thought I was ordering potatoes and get spinach instead, well that’s OK.

But what if what you ordered isn’t what you expect when you get it? Like you order an Impossible Burger and they serve a beef pattie instead? Or you order a burger with blue cheese and it is nowhere to be found? OK, the simple answer is pointing this out to the server. But wait, had I ordered what I thought I had? It was loud. I pointed. Maybe they brought what they thought I’d ordered.

I’m perplexed. Did I get what I’d imagined or what I asked for?

What Do You Do With It All?

Joe Van Cleve has a problem. It is a good one. He has too much stuff. No, he’s not a hoarder. He writes, he photographs, he writes poems, he typewrites, he keeps doing it and keeping it all. Binders and folders of stuff he’s created. Scads of stuff, he has scads of stuff. All filling up space. And he does not know what to do with it.

So he made a video explaining his problem and asking his viewers for their input. I gave some. I don’t think it will be helpful. But maybe it can be helpful, just a bit.

Watch the 10 minutes below for his description of his problem. How much of it do you understand? I’m looking at you photographers.