The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An Amazing and Wonderful ITJB Story

Elagins's picture

An Amazing and Wonderful ITJB Story

I don't know if many of you saw this, but when I read it, I came close to tears. In his cover blurb for ITJB, Peter Reinhart graciously wrote, "bread is always more than just bread," and this article bears that idea out to the max.

IMO, there's no greater pleasure for a writer -- or anyone, for that matter -- than to know his/her work has enriched another's life, and I wanted to share this moment with you all.

Stan Ginsberg


isand66's picture

What a touching story.  Being Jewish myself it certainly reminds one of how the human spirit persevers through out the dark times.  It must be very gratifying to feel you have created something that can touch so many people's lives through your stories and recipes.



Candango's picture

Stan, thanks for sending on such a great story. Just another example of how your book is so much more than a collection of recipes.  It is the way in which you have interwoven histories and stories into the mix which brings everything to life.  Thanks again.


dabrownman's picture

I haven't bought a bread book since Clayton's Complete Book of Bread in 1973.  Made my first SD from it and have baked so many great breads out of it too - Have lost track of all of them.   But, I will buy your 2nd edition of ITJB in memory of Norm and respect for your personal great efforts in making this book an award winning classic anyone would want to add to their bread book collection.  Our collection may only number 2, but they can hold their own against larger ones and I still have time, hopefully,  to add another in the next 38 years if you are inclined to write another :-)

I just have to make the Tzitsel.

dmsnyder's picture

Thanks for sharing that link, Stan.

So much family and culture was lost in the Shoah, it makes every bit one can salvage precious. Being able to connect with a grandparent one never knew in this way at this time in history is truly moving. 

I feel that, if your book had no other value, what it did for this one woman makes it worth all the effort  - true tikun olam.

I would elaborate, but I'm having trouble seeing the screen through my tears.


Elagins's picture

at the end of the article, "The dead know the affairs of the living." Somewhere, Norm is smiling.

EvaB's picture

A sad storey in ways, but it makes me happy that the author has finally connected to her grandmother. I can certainly understand the lack in her life. But the book makes the connection for her, so I think that the last sentence in the article certainly has some merit. One must ask why that sentence in the reference to the challah stood out for her? Maybe grandma was there pointing it out so she could make the connection.

This past week, I have been busy with pickles and so forth, but we needed some bread, and I made what my mother called drop biscuits, which is simply baking poweder biscuits, but instead of rolling them out and cutting them (a distinct impossibility in the kitchen which is full of jars, and stuff all over the counter) I did what she used to do which was make them wetter and simply turn onto the baking sheet, pat down so they are even in height and bake. You cut the large biscuit into serving sizes or break off a pice to suit. It was funny the feeling I got when I made that first pan, I went back in time to the old kitchen and watching my mother mix up a batch of bicuits, and realized why she did it that way, the old kitchen had no space to actually roll out the dough. I knew that on one level but not the other, and felt more of a connection to my mother at that moment than I have in years. She never did have a kitchen that allowed room to roll out dough on a constant basis, so when you got rolled biscuits or pies or cookies, it meant a lot of effort went into them because something had to be moved in order to make them. And of course moved back after! I have felt very close to my mother the last few months, as I have developed a heart condition she had the last 30 or more years of her life, so having an aha moment and doing something I can remember her doing almost everyday as a teen it gave me a closer feeling than ever.

GSnyde's picture

What a great story of re-connection.  You have reason to be proud of your role.