Do you want to hear me talk about bread?

If you answered “yes,” then I have great news for you. A few months back I recorded an interview about bread in Ancient Greece with Aven McMaster and Mark Sundaram for their podcast The Endless Knot. That episode went live this morning. I haven’t heard the final product yet, but it got an excellent review from Emma Pauly, the person who edited and transcribed the episode.

You can get the episode anywhere you get podcasts or by using this link. Bon appétit!

4 thoughts on “Do you want to hear me talk about bread?

  1. Enjoyed the podcast, and have one tangential request. Can you share a citation for bagel-makers refusing to mechanise because the mixer motors burned out? Thanks.

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    1. Thanks! That particular anecdote was a paraphrase of Maria Balinska’s account of Local 338 in The Bagel (Yale University Press 2008). Looking back at the book now, she only says “all attempts ended in the bagel’s tough dough getting the better of the bit of metal” (127). I clearly read into this that it was a motor problem rather than a shaping one, but that might be me projecting onto her text.

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      1. I have seen that article about Local 338. Balinska also explores that event, including how organized crime eventually flipped its stance and offered to “protect” the union from competitors outside New York City.

        I don’t have an encyclopedic inventory of all breads, but many of them have broadly religious overtones (fancy, shaped as to be infinite—soft pretzels are the shape of a monk in prayer, and there are a variety of south Italian breads in this shape, some with religious overtones and some don’t). In the case of the bagel, Balinska traces its origin to eastern European festival breads that were special because they were made of wheat rather than the more plentiful rye. The boiling started as a way to distinguish the breads produced by Jewish bakers from Christian bakers since there were laws banning crossover.

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