Russ Parsons, the food editor and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, wrote a terrific review of In Search of the Perfect Loaf. He seemed to really get what I was after: celebrating the craft of bread making and all that it entails and also looking at the myriad ramifications of bread, which can be sliced in so many ways. Here are a few excerpts:
Fromartz is much more than an obsessive cook. He’s also a fine reporter and writer. And “Perfect Loaf” is much more than a book about baking bread.
In true bread baker fashion, Fromartz takes what might seem like the narrow window of bread baking and uses it as an opportunity to explore a wide range of topics.
And so in searching for the perfect crumb and crust, he also teaches us about starch chemistry, about the history of bread, about the development of sourdough and some of its ramifications, about the biology of yeasts, about the history of wheat, about the implications of industrial agriculture, about the psychology of bakers, and about bread as a cultural artifact. And that’s just a small sample.
...Although the book is ostensibly about baking, what Fromartz is really writing about is how a deeper understanding of something leads to a deeper appreciation of it.
He is showing us the world through a slice of bread.