Richly detailed history and lively anecdotes make this book a consummate celebration of the deceptively simple loaf of bread.




Botany, culinary history and recipes from a bread lover.

A few years ago, Fromartz (Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grow, 2006) combined his hobby of bread baking and his profession as a journalist when he set out to write about French bread for a travel magazine. Frustrated by the quality of his homemade baguettes, Fromartz eagerly donned a white apron at Boulangerie Arnaud Delmontel, one of the most famous bakeries in Paris. There, Fromartz learned the intricate process of mixing ingredients, letting dough rest, shaping loaves, slashing them swiftly with a razor and baking them to perfection. After his stint in Paris, the author returned home to Washington, D.C., where, he writes, no good bread could be found, and won a prize for his baguettes in a baking competition. His quest for fine bread, though, was not over. Visiting bakers, scientists and farmers, Fromartz learned about the many grains used for nourishment throughout history: spelt, barley, rye, millet, oats and varieties of wheat. He also practiced handling dough with flours that perform differently. Growing his own grains from seed, he learned about the risks to which all farmers are vulnerable: predators (his were mice and birds), disease and weather. White flour, he discovered, “has been prized since antiquity” as a representation of refinement and economic status. But though unenriched white bread lacks fiber and healthful nutrients, in ancient times, it also lacked “insects, rodent droppings, dirt, perhaps small stones and straw.” Besides imparting a history of grains and their places in culture over the past 105,000 years (when grain consumption appears to have begun), Fromartz includes step-by-step recipes for nurturing dough starters and for baking baguettes, flatbread, rye bread (which he learned to make in Berlin) and a loaf made from an artisanal grain, Turkey Red wheat.

Richly detailed history and lively anecdotes make this book a consummate celebration of the deceptively simple loaf of bread.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-02561-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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