Entertaining and educative.



A clever weekend baker learns some life lessons, loaf by loaf.

As in his previous book (The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden, 2006), Alexander sets a fairly lofty goal—this time he wants to bake perfect bread. The author established a time frame for his task of a loaf per week for a year. That undertaking may not be as showy, perhaps, as cooking all of Julia Child’s recipes in the same time period, but it’s a formidable task nonetheless. Alexander used just four ingredients, baking his peasant yet artisanal bread from scratch using water, salt, wheat and yeast—a 6,000-year-old recipe “found scratched on the inside of a pyramid.” The author built a rudimentary oven, separated wheat from chaff by hand and worked diligently to produce the ever-important gas bubbles in his bread’s texture. Some of his baking, presented to an obliging family, was tasty, while some went against the grain. He considered sponge and crust, crumb and batter and the magical qualities of the ubiquitous ancient fungus, yeast. He also traveled quite a bit, baking in New England, at the Ritz in Paris, in a medina in Morocco and finally in l’Abbaye Saint-Wandrille, a modest seventh-century French abbey where he produced his best loaf. During his quest, Alexander learned plenty. For example, the professed atheist found something numinous in the loaves, and especially the process. His bright writing highlights a pleasing variety of comical misadventures. Recipes appended.

Entertaining and educative.

Pub Date: May 4, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-56512-583-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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