Monday, October 22, 2007

Food for thought

On Sept.26, our good friend and Farmer's Market neighbor, got busted. John Savanna, of Mill Pond Bakery,was told by a State of Michigan health inspector to take all of his unwrapped bread off of the market stall,and to destroy it by squirting dish soap all over it. The story made the front page of the Ann Arbor News and was followed up by Letters to the Editor from incensed Ann Arbor consumers that were 100 per cent in support of John. The News said that was a rarity; the follow-up letters are always mixed.

So the story has received a lot of attention and I won't go into it any further. Read the Frog Log from May 25 for more about John's journey toward righteous bread-baking.

Or better yet, eat some of John's bread. Yes, he is still selling bread at the market, but it all has to be bagged and he can only supply half of what he used to bake, as he needs so much time to bag the bread.

So get a hunk of that bread. And a hunk it is. It's heavy, hearty and rich brown. We are fortunate to trade veggies for bread, and so I bit into a hunk the other night after market. And I had to stop. And chew. And as I chewed I looked. What did I see?

I saw a dense interweaving of softened grains, laced with cherries and walnuts. I saw a solid, deeper brown crust protecting the moist inner dough. I saw the imprint of hard-working hands, rolling and shaping the dough in a centuries-long tradition of creating the Staff of Life. I saw focused eyes peering into a rotating oven, able to determine when the bread had risen to completion. I saw an artisan, sharing his skill and his soul, in the simple act of creating righteous food. I saw a fair and honest businessman handing that loaf to an appreciative customer.

And I also saw someone who has been a vital part of the local food supply and economy having his livelihood jeopardized by a rather arbitrary application of insensitive and impractical "rules." And that's something to chew on.


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