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Baking and Bakers in Literature

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rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Baking and Bakers in Literature

One of my blog readers recently alerted me to a Raymond Carver short story featuring a baker: A Small, Good Thing 


Very moving conclusion. Recommended reading for anyone here, given our interest in bread and baking. (NB: Apparently this story was included in an adapted form in the Altman movie, Short Cuts, which I saw years ago...but badly in need of a cerebral RAM upgrade, as I can't bring any such segment to mind!).


In an ensuing email discussion, this reader pondered whether there are many other literary works featuring bakers or baking. I'm sure there must be, and with a literature background I should be able to identify at least some, but again, I can't bring any to mind!  Thought I would put a call out to TFL participants for some help.


So, any more works come to mind, folks?


Cheers
Ross

Crider's picture
Crider

played the baker in Short Cuts. He was an unusual character in the film.

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

AH, ok. Vaguely coming back now...thanks, Crider.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Who can forget Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck???

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Didn't get around to seeing that one, Jankntz. Thanks for the alert.


There's quite a few food-orientated movies, of course - so many that they form a genre unto themselves. Again, though, not many featurign baking specifically...not that spring to mind, anyway.


The most recent one I saw was the lightweight but enjoyable enough It's Complicated, in which Meryl Streep's character runs a bakery. Nice sequence in which she bakes up some early morning croissants...

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Hardly literature, but pain au levain is one of the characters (the author did quite a bit of research)


Sarah-Kate Lynch's 2003 novel "By Bread Alone"


http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/by_bread_alone1.asp


 


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Ta, Robyn. So, not large 'L' literature, you're suggesting? :) The synopsis brought on an unexpressed chuckle, have to admit.


Still, it qualifies for the list if one categorises as 'literature' all fiction, short or long, high-brow or low. And I think we'd better do that, since the sub-genre of baker/baking lit appears rather restricted. That makes 2 in total! 


I'll see if the library has a copy...


Back after checking their data base. Erm, no. Then again, they didn't even have Bukowski until very recently...!

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Handsome Italian actor (can't remember who) is the main character. He is the eldest of 3 brothers who run a bakery in a building owned by an older Italian couple. The wife is dying. The boys become her extended family and the older brother falls for their daughter.

I loved it, but can't remember the name. Many good baking scenes.

A little obscure. I may be the only person in the world who saw it (on t.v.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And what year?  about... do you think it was filmed? 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Within the last 10 years or so, I think.  The main character was somebody familiar.  I was thinking Ralph Macchio or Ray Romano but didn't see anything in either of their filmographies on IMDB.  


It was a very sweet movie.  The boys were all in their early 20's and had lost their parents, so their landlords sort of filled that role.  One of the brothers was developmentally disabled.  


Darn, I wish I could remember the title!

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Was it by any chance A Wedding for Bella with Scott Baio


(http://www.spout.com/films/A_Wedding_for_Bella/211810/default.aspx)


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Congratulations Steve!   That should be in a bin somewhere... keeping my eyes out, love romances.... Originally called "The Bread, My Sweet"    


"A Good Man is a Piece of Bread"


http://www.whoknewproductions.com/story.html

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Mini, great link!  You can even watch the theatrical trailers there:


http://www.whoknewproductions.com/trailers.html


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com


 

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Mini, if you like romances about baking, you'll love this one.


 


SteveB


www.breadcetera.com


 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Thank you Steve B.  It was a sweet movie. 


Anybody else see it?

JoPi's picture
JoPi

I believe the movie is "The Bread, My Sweet". Here's the link:


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0281680/


Scott Baio is the baker...I saw this last summer. Nice movie.


 

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

Australian author Kate Greenwood has written three novels set in a bakery in Melbourne. "Earthly Delights", Heavenly Pleasures" and one with 'devil's food' in the title (I think). Good quick reads and a great chocolate muffin recipe.


Another is "Bread Alone" by Judi Hendricks, a Californian writer. She's also written another book but I don't know its title.


I enjoyed reading them all.


Liz

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thanks possum-liz. The library has Bread Alone. Doesn't sound like my sorta thang, and I guess I was mostly interested in large 'L' lit, but why not give it a go? Will borrow it and leave my prejudices aside until I've at least read a bit.

jaheim's picture
jaheim

Try searching this site for "Bread in Literature" I think there were some previous posts with some nice quotations.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Nicholas Temelcoff, in Michael Ondaatje's novel In the Skin of a Lion, leaves his daredevil, life-threatening high steel worker's job; with his savings he opens the Geranium Bakery, and enjoys the solitude of baking, much as he enjoyed the same aloneness swinging high in the air, at the end of a thin cable.


Although not the primary hero of the novel, I found the character Temelcoff more dimensional, and compelling than any other character.


Ondaatje is better known through his novel The English Patient.


David G

chefdann's picture
chefdann

What about the choclatier in Chocolat?  Pretty sure there was some baking in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.


Maybe an old tale by now, and I wasn't there to see it, but legend has it that in the filming of Moonstruck, a customer refused to be denied service, so they accomodated her...and Cher vended her her goodies and the customer never batted an eye.  I have had cookies and pastry from Cammareri's well before they closed the Brooklyn location.

emram3680's picture
emram3680

i would recomend that you and your reader try Diane Mott Davidson's books. she writes thrillers about a chef.  Each book contains at least 2 great recipes of all sorts. (I highly recomend the crustless jarlesberg quiche.) hope that helps.

bpezzell's picture
bpezzell

'The Baker' starring Damian Lewis & Michael Gambon. It's called 'Assasin in Love' here in the states. Black comedy about a hitman trying to start a new life and mistaken as the town's new baker. Streaming on Netflix currently.


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783234/