Why virtuous bread? Am I insane? Or am I making a difference?

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Yesterday, I asked someone  the following question:  If I say “bread” and “virtue” together what springs to mind?  I confess I was testing my own sanity in a way.  Is what I am doing insane or will it make a difference.  Why indeed virtuous bread?  Why is this so important to me and is it important to anyone else?  Did the words resonate at all with anybody other than me?

I received an answer that pleased me, moved me, and gave me strength.  You know there are some days when it all feels useless and stupid and as if this thing – this virtuous bread thing – must have me barking up the wrong tree or falling down a rabbit hole or going off the path in whatever way works for you.  And then there are days when someone is really engaged or complimentary, or offers to help.  Those are the better days.

Yesterday was a better day.

“Bread and virtue is the perfect combination of words.  It is a reality check for everyone who sees those two words together.  It asks us to ask questions about the person who set up virtuous bread:  where does it come from?  what is the inspiration? who is behind this and why?”

You can see that yesterday was a better day.

So I thought I would answer.  And because it is probably a long answer, I will do so over a number of posts – to eek out the thrilling story of why Virtuous Bread.

My name is Jane Mason.  I am a Canadian of German and British extraction although neither of my parents lived in their birth countries for very long.  My mother made it to Canada via England and Puerto Rico and my Father via China, Hong Kong, and England.  If I have one word to describe my parents it is that they are kind.  If I have more than one word it is that they are conscious of the ways in which their lives are blessed, extremely aware of and responsible toward the natural world, and make tradeoffs and choices accordingly.  My mother has been an environmental campaigner all of my life and was considered a freak in suburban Toronto in the 70s for recycling, and for not buying processed food.  And I mean at all.  I mean we NEVER had ANY.  She swore she could taste the chemicals and had an instinctive feeling that intensive farming and industrialised food production were bad for the planet, our communities and our health.  She baked until she could get organic bread from a german baker who was so far away that she bought ten pound loaves and cut them up and put them in the freezer.  She still bakes like a demon although these days it tends to be cookies and cakes for her and my father to consume at tea time.

Mum and dad where else but in a garden.

My parents come from a generation that does not waste (especially not food), that preserves when there is a glut of something, and that does not excessively consume.  They buy almost everything with cash.  They open a bottle of wine and it lasts for days.  They are left over wizards.  They have been married for nearly 50 years, have a large and varied circle of friends, many of whom they have known for 50 years, a rampant social life which involves a lot of events in which food is brought, shared, and eaten by many.  They love and so they are loved.  Virtuous bread.

At some point in the future I will write the next installment.  How do you get from strategy consultant to baker and social entrepreneur?  You can began that journey with some thoughts about virtue.

17 thoughts on “Why virtuous bread? Am I insane? Or am I making a difference?”

  1. From strategy consultant to baker and social entrepreneur is a path illuminated by your own vision and forged by your growing wisdom. Brilliant! Go for it! Angie(www.thecraftbaker.co.uk )

  2. Hi
    I saw you at the WP Conference last saturday and tasting your truly “virtuous” bread had a huge impact on me. I am new to the WP ideas and have had to give up grains to help control my menopausal weight gains.
    I dislike all the hype around the fact that “grains” are so bad for you – yet our ancestors looked to honest to goodness “bread” as the staff of life.
    I am determined to heal my digestion and to continue to look for traditional ways/methods of dealing/preparing the most nutritious organic “grain/food” that I can find – so as such I will be signing up soon! You are not coo coo – in fact you are one of the sane ones!
    All good wishes

  3. this feels like a modern version of the tassajara bread book (of which I still have a battered brown copy, bought in the late 70s or early 80s. have you seen it?

  4. Hello from Singapore.Came across your website while looking for proofing baskets . Just right for me !!!
    Started making my own bread after attending a hands on class a month ago.
    My hubby does quality check on my weekly efforts and now refuses to eat store bought bread.Now i bake at least 3 loaves every weekend to last the week. .I also noticed that we have less gastric problems and are less bloated or feel less empty/hungry . Our local store breads are soft ,sweet and full of enhancers and improvers to extend shelf life.I am encouraging my colleagues at work to try bread making too . Enticing them every Monday with home baked bread does help greatly!!!

    1. I am so pleased to hear from you – thank you for the lovely message. Yes, Singapore went from no bread to bad bread, missing the good bread step inbetween. I would love to have bread angels there!

  5. Thank You.There are now more bakeries selling artisan bread,pastries and gourmet teas and coffees. And yes ,bread making courses are becoming popular; both Japanese “soft ,spongy ” technique and the crustry European style. The Bread Angels should do well here!! In fact I feel that there are some lurking around on the quiet. We all love to share good food and recipes around And if we can make some pocket money,its a bonus!! .Eat Well, Live Well,Laugh a Lot and Sleep Well.

  6. Hi Jane, Really like your blog – I found it whilst searching for Satish Kumar quotes on bread… Found a great article on your site. Thanks!

  7. Your site has wonderful, fresh recipes and the story you wrote about your lovely parents (in explaining the history why Virtuous Bread) was so moving and inspiring. Wishing you a string of “better days”, if not great ones. Sincerest respect and well wishes from London (via New York), Kara & Will P.S. My husband is making one of your delicious rye recipes as I type!

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