It is an age-old recipe--grain, yeast, and spirit--and author Peter Reinhart knows how to blend these ingredients well. In fact, Reinhart has been fermenting this particular loaf of wisdom for years. On a worldwide level he is known as a master baker and author of the award-winning cookbook Crust and Crumb
. On another (but equally important) level he is a spiritual pilgrim who finally planted his roots in the Christ the Saviour Brotherhood, an eastern orthodox service order.
In this well-written memoir Reinhart demonstrates how a journey to God follows the same rules as the baking of bread. For example, you must have all the right tools to begin. In one case the tools may include meditation and affirmative prayer, in the other they may include baking parchment and spatulas. (Although Reinhart is now in a Christian orthodox order, his voice and quest could easily appeal to any spiritual orientation.) As in Like Water for Chocolate, Reinhart inserts bread recipes into each chapter of his book as he shares his hard-earned spiritual maturity and personal story. As a result, his stories, wisdom, and bread recipes are more easily understood, savored, and digested. --Gail Hudson
From Publishers Weekly
A small but growing group of authors write cookbooks that explore the spiritual metaphors of cooking. Reinhart has written a number in this genre, including Brother Juniper's Bread Book and Sacramental Magic in a Small Town Caf?. As both a lay brother in an Eastern Orthodox service order (Christ the Savior Brotherhood) and an excellent bread chef (editor of the revised Joy of Cooking's bread chapter and former instructor at the California Culinary Academy), he speaks with both spiritual and culinary authority. In this nutritious and delicious book, Reinhart uses the twelve stages of bread-making (mise en place, mixing, primary fermentation, punching down the dough, weighing the individual pieces, rounding, resting, shaping, secondary fermentation, baking, cooling, then devouring or storing) as symbols of our spiritual walk. Tempering of the soul, for example, is "the testing and strengthening of our commitment to the vision of our quest. When we make bread we have enough experience with the end result so that we know what we are shooting for." Reinhart uses long stories (which are sometimes a tad long-winded) from his own spiritual journey and experience. For those who share the love of excellent bread and the desire for a serious spiritual walk, this book will be a tasty treat. (Feb.)
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