Years ago when Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything was my Bible, I studied every page like a good little novice, and approximately 882 pages later I came across the no doubt often overlooked section, “Fifty Cookbooks I’d Rather Not Live Without.” This led to many happy finds but none so happy as Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, which in due course upended HtCE as All-Time-Favorite-Cookbook.
Is this the point at which I mention that I hung out last week with Naomi Duguid? No, that’s spoiling the surprise too soon.
So I got my copy of F&F in 2005 and away I went. You see, for years already then (and still now) I’d been haunted with guilt because the first time I attempted to make bread from scratch I forgot to add the yeast. It was only once I had a supple dough in hand that I realized my mistake and—close your eyes, here it comes—thinking there was nothing more to be done about it, I threw it out.
I sometimes feel that when I face Judgment Day, that wasted bread dough will be dangled in front of my nose, an outrageous combination of wastefulness and ignorance…Read More