I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading Paul Graham’s In Memory of Bread for a Blogging for Books review. I am one of an odd few, it seems, who is wheat intolerant but not gluten intolerant, and so I really enjoyed this book on a personal level.
Graham explores his love of bread and beer (and food in general) and his transition from a gluten-indulgent diet to a gluten-free diet following his diagnosis of Celiac disease.
Not only does Graham expound on the nature, development, and mystery of Celiac disease and related gluten intolerances (completely debunking, I might add, the idea that these conditions are merely fads) but he delves into the very history of wheat and bread, and why bread is so much a part of not only our American culture, but every culture.
I loved how thorough Graham was. The book is impeccably researched, but leavened with personal anecdotes and musings to keep it from reading too much like a textbook. At times, there are portions that are very dry and scientific, as Graham goes into the diagnosis of his disease and his own attempts to understand where genetics went wrong.
I enjoyed most his exploration into the history of wheat and other grains. I learned so much not only about the history of bread and wheat, but of many other grains that have are far less common. This book is certainly educational.
My biggest gripe was that in the midst of his (warranted) complaints of losing out on bread and beer (and the thousands of other unseen losses that a GF diet demands), Graham boasts of his locavore eating habits–his access to fresh, locally-sourced meat and produce. That element can be a little hard to stomach at times, although he is fairly quick to speak out about his own privilege in that regard.
Truly a fascinating read about the relationship between culture and food, between humans and food, and how identity is shaped by what we eat. It will get you thinking!
**I was provided a copy of this book by the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.