In Going with the Grain
Susan Seligson, "wandering bread lover" and well-published journalist, takes us on a trip around the world. The one thing that these far-flung locations and cultures share--from the Jordanian desert to Saratoga Springs, New York to Shanagarry, Ireland--is bread. Each chapter is a short story in itself. Most of them tell the tale of a well-traveled soul, filled with wanderlust and obsessed with bread. The staple of every culture she visits, the breads come in every size, color, shape, texture, and flavor imaginable, but the real stories lie in the making and baking. Some of her destinations have absolutely no other attraction except the bread and its baker, but the richest among them offer much more than that. Seligson is curious and energetic, open-minded and funny--a combination that makes for interesting reading. Explore the magical Brijendra's kitchen in New Delhi; learn the almost confidential recipe for the United States Army's bread (patent 5059432, with a three-year shelf life); and meet Huntsville, Alabama native Aunt Eunice, famous for her Country Biscuits (recipe included). If you love to eat (and not just bread) and love to travel, Seligson is an entertaining companion. --Leora Y. Bloom
From Publishers Weekly
Seligson's no loafer; her quest for bread from French baguettes to lab-crafted field rations courtesy of the U.S. military takes her around the world and across America, five countries and six U.S. cities in all as she explores cultural difference and identity through a common creation. As Seligson explains, "My lifelong love affair with bread has less to do with crust, crumb, and the vagaries of sourdough cultures and more to do with bread as a reflection of people's varied beliefs, daily lives, and blood memories." Serious stuff, but Seligson best known as a journalist and children's book author (Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch) leavens this offering with keen observations and a wicked sense of humor. She starts off in Morocco, where Fesi women rise at dawn to prepare the dough that will be baked as it has for centuries in huge communal hearths. Stops in the U.S. include Eunice's Country Kitchen in Huntsville, Ala., where the spitfire proprietress helps maintain the down-home feel of the former cotton-farming town turned NASA hub by serving up biscuits, ham and red-eye gravy, and the Wonder Bread plant in Biddeford, Maine, which emits no discernible smell. Seligson ends her tour in Paris, where, after a decade-long denigration of traditional technique, legislation was passed to protect and maintain the art of the boulanger. Seligson's debut essay collection is as smart and evocative as it often is laugh-out-loud funny.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.