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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Artisan bread: Trying to reach the next level

A little research suggests that bread books fall into two basic categories: Books for people who want good bread without investing a lot of time and trouble; and books for people who want the best possible bread no matter how much fuss or apparatus is involved. I’m in the second category. The first bread book […]


Who doesn’t like an Alfredo? You can no more not like an Alfredo than you can not like a doughnut, or a potato chip. Though heavy cream is not as deprecated as it once was, it still seems pretty decadent. But because I am a decadent person, I always stock Organic Valley cream. I use […]

Faces of the First Amendment

My camera is one of the most important political tools I have. Whether it’s a political campaign or organizing for environmental groups, photos are important, especially on social media. I find photos of public meetings strangely moving. Sometimes they capture the spirit of a Rockwell painting. I’m thinking, of course, of Rockwell’s “The Four Freedoms.” […]

Yum. Mac and cheese.

One of the hippest places in San Francisco when I was there was (is?) the Virgin Records store on Market Street, just across from the Apple Store. On the third level, with big windows facing Market Street, was (is?) a small café. They had lunch specials there, and sometimes the lunch special was “mac and […]

Hallelujah — Steam!

After you have struggled for as long as I have to make professional quality bread at home, including sourdough, you eventually realize that it cannot be done without a steam oven. Truth is, throwing water into a hot even accomplishes very little. The Dutch-oven method of baking — trapping steam inside a covered Dutch oven […]

First apple pie from the abbey’s orchard

I started the abbey’s small orchard seven years ago with small, bare-root trees, all of them old Southern heirloom varieties from Century Farm Orchards. Lots of grief and patience are involved in getting a new orchard to the productive stage. I’ve had a few apples in previous years, but this year was the first year […]

The sin of asyndeton

As every science fiction fan knows, this year is the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert’s Dune, first published in 1965. I am pretty sure that I read it long, long ago — so long ago that I’ve forgotten. But the 50th anniversary seemed like a good time to read it again. The writing is driving […]