Our word for today is "artisanal" or artisnal. - made in a traditional, non-mechanical way - made by hand. It applies mainly to food or drink, such as, bread kneaded by hand, possibly using a homemade starter.
Artisnal also refers to locally made cheeses, beers, preserves...the list goes on. These foods are a little more expensive to buy, but they are tastier, more eco-friendly, support local artisans and generally make the world a better place.
I wanted to write about artisnal foods, because a friend had given my son a book on making bread - Tartine Bread. She actually brought over some bread she had made from the book and it was to die for. Apparently, they had been talking or texting about food - this is life for a foodie - and the subject of bread came up!
Well, this is bread from absolute scratch!! OK, you don't have to grow the wheat, but you do have to "grow" the starter. Making a homemade starter is not for the faint of heart. We began on Thursday with 5lbs of flour - half white and half whole wheat. I mixed the two flours together in a large bowl and my son made a rather runny paste in a small bowl with some of the flour and water. He worked it for about 15 minutes to get out the lumps and what can I say, he's a foodie, so he could easily have worked it another 15 minutes. It's like knitting, once you start, it's difficult to stop!!
Today we check the paste to see if it has fermented. We will then have to feed it and work with it until it is sweet smelling (this can days or weeks) and can then be used to leaven our dough.
Next, he will knead the dough by hand, lovingly and I know it will taste like mana from heaven. It is not by chance that many of the great hymns refer to God as bread - Bread of Heaven, Panis Angelicus - Bread of Angels. Bread and wine - food of the Gods!!
Coming down to earth, my son's goal is to make the perfect hamburger bun. Well, of course, it doesn't stop there. I can see us finding the perfect organic beef, using lettuce from the garden (in June), making tomato jam (ketchup) from tomatoes I froze in the Fall and, of course our artisnal relish and mustard. This is not your quick evening meal. This is a life's work, a religion.
I think we'll have to say Grace!
The pictures? Well, since we haven't made the bread yet, these are foods to eat with bread.
PS - I knew my writing partner would have no problem with the word "artisnal", she makes the most awesome bread as well.