Daily Archives: Monday, 5 July 2021

White Bread and “Simon the Fiddler” (Novel Food No.42)

go directly to the recipe

summary: revisiting bread-making using commercial yeast and white flour only; Ken Forkish’s White Bread with Poolish; brief review of “Simon the Fiddler” by Paulette Jiles; Novel Food Event; sigh… late again; sneak peak at “The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen” by Jacques Pépin;

This recipe makes a palate-sparkling, almost buttery-flavored bread with a thin, crisp crust.

Novel Food No. 42

White Bread with Poolish

Eeeeeeek!!! I cannot believe I keep losing track of time. I had great plans for participating in Novel Food No.41, with several books to choose from, but one in particular that I was completely entranced by. And here it is, already past time for Novel Food No.42! One day past the deadline, but past is past!

I cannot stop thinking about “Simon the Fiddler” by Paulette Jiles. I could not put the book down. And yet, because of the sheer beauty, I wanted to read and savour it as slowly as possible. I found myself backtracking to re-read sections, before going forward.

Here it is, several months since I read the last page, and I still cannot stop thinking about it.

Texas. Just at the very end of the American Civil War and the months following. Before instant electronic communication, when men could still be conscripted into the army, when battles would still be raging in spite of the following:

Jeff Davis had already been captured and was in jail […] Lee had cashed it in a month ago at Appomattox […] Lincoln was dead at the hands of a demented actor. Why were they all still here?
– Paulette Jiles, Simon the Fiddler, Chapter One

Yet I cannot stop thinking about the fact that what is most memorable about this book is the music. The desolation of war and its legacy are pervasive, of course. Perhaps that is why the music is so heartbreakingly beautiful. (continue reading )