In Memory of Bread
By Paul Graham
Published by Clarkson Potter
272 Pages HB

BACK COVER: When Paul Graham was suddenly diagnosed with a serious wheat allergy at the age of thirty-six, he was forced to say goodbye to traditional pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and more. Gone, too, were some of his favorite hobbies, including brewing beer with a buddy and gorging on his wife’s homemade breads. Struggling to understand why he and so many others had become allergic to wheat, barley, rye, oats, and other dietary staples, Graham researched the production of modern wheat and learned that not only has the grain been altered from ancestral varieties but it’s also commonly added to thousands of processed foods. 

In writing that is effortless and engaging, Paul explores why incidence of the disease is on the rise while also grappling with an identity crisis—given that all his favorite pastimes involved wheat in some form. His honest, unflinching, and at times humorous journey towards health and acceptance makes an inspiring read.

REVIEW: I enjoyed reading about how this author navigated the GF trail. I learned a thing or two (about some restaurants that are GF with a bakery) having issues with GF changes everything. The author says, “Overnight, I ceased to be someone who could enjoy bread, Pizza, beat, and many other foods of cultural and personal importance – at least in the ways I had always experienced the.”… “You can have fellowship over any meal, but sharing bread seems to deliver an especially high emotional return for a simple food. Bread always inspired such excitement, even reverence, in those who have so much as stood near a fresh loaf.”

I agree with him on what he feels about bread. I had no idea how much it affected our lives.
He continues, “Mixing my own flour blend also reminded me that I still resented being a different type of eater, one who had traded a recipe of four ingredients for a recipe of 10 or more…I had to weigh out each of the flours, combine them, and then mix (sift, preferably) them for uniformity.” All this was expensive too. He says, “Our fridge looked like the GF section of the health food store…some of flours need to be kept cool.”

“After 18 months of trial and error they hit the jackpot ATK cookbook…( I felt the same why when I made recipes from the American Test Kitchen Cookbook. Pure gold) By using baking science and a weird assembly of ingredients that nobody would consider dropping into a bread dough recipe 20 years ago, we had bread…we felt wealthy.”
Bishop Editor ATK, “I think there’s something about baked goods that people just have a need for in a deep and emotional way, “

The author notes, “I lacked key substitutions and additions yes, but more important than that, my ways of cooking, the practices that made me a good cook, were on auto pilot and fooling me. The old rules didn’t apply anymore.”

I enjoyed reading about his discoveries, trials and errors. As he searched to capture the foods he enjoyed before he had to eat GF. He realized he needs a new view of everything in life! It was interesting to read about he and his wife’s struggle in finding a good bread substitute. I liked reading about how the American’s Test Kitchen Gluten free cook book came about and why they choose the recipes for the book. I enjoyed this book because the recipes worked and tasted great. My whole family loved them.

Like Paul and his wife I went though many recipes and struggled to discover that most of the recipes I tried for cookie and/or bread didn’t work (until – like the author- I tried American Test Kitchen’s book) Or in some cases they looked great but tasted horrible.

It was fun to read he ran into the same snags I did. The good thing is there are so many more options to choose from now. I agree with the author when he says that making your own goodies that taste good for you and others to enjoy is a gift. He says, “To share three hours at a table with the one person you chose from many – there is no loaf, no noodle, no ale as good as that.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


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