In Memory Of Bread by Paul Graham (4 out of 5)
This was a book that I spotted in the Ingram advances catalog a few months back. Perhaps, not coincidentally, I may have been craving bread at the time I spotted the description of the book. Before the gluten intolerance hit, I was a bread whore. I thought nothing of caressing, cooing, and heavy petting of bread, before eating the entire contents. So reading about Paul’s love of artisan bread and how it was cut short by celiac disease, and how he had to relearn to live with his diagnosis and nothing short of a death sentence for a bread maker and brewmaster, made me immediately want to read this. It was incredibly freeing and frightening to read of his struggle, and ultimately, his triumph over the life changing celiac diagnosis.
Paul and his wife Bec are living a satisfying life, having friends over for dinner parties and beer brewing sessions, when a series of health woes lead him to go seek treatment in the ER. Many tests later, Paul is horrified when he is told his small intestine is in a drastic state, and that he has full-blown celiac disease. The first part of the book focuses on Paul’s love of food, mostly bread. Then once he works through his grief over what he is now forced to do (and eat), he begins researching the history of wheat and its forebears, in the hope he will find a miraculous cure to have his bread but not gluten too. His wife joins him in the gluten-free lifestyle and in a show of solidarity, they stock up on gluten-free cookbooks, 100 million different types of flour, and began cooking, baking, and brewing in earnest, to try to duplicate some of the delicious wares they used to be able to eat. Epic failures line the path that they’re trying to blaze, and discouragement fills those pages. Paul is nothing if not brutally honest, and the reader grieves with him-at least this reader did! He dives into all the hidden mine traps that a celiac and gluten intolerant person must dodge on a daily basis, and he does it with understanding and not so technical that the reader stops giving a loaf. All in all, I would highly advise anyone with a wheat allergy or inability to process the entire community of little rascals, to pick up this book and pass it onto someone who can use it. I loved it.