In this edition of the Food Ontario Select Guide we feature “Bread”. Bread - the ‘staff of life’ – can be dated as far back as the Neolithic era. From it’s humble origins as a rough chewy dough made by grinding together grains into a paste then grilling it on a hot stone to today’s ultra-tasty versions, bread is here to stay.
In a matter of 50 years North America has seen bread go from the plain white-sliced version to the healthier, more robust, multi-grain versions of today. From soft dinner buns to a hearty foccacia, from the rustic peasant rough brown loaf to a heart-smart multigrain; from hot yeasty pitas to plump fluffy Indian rotis; from Middle Eastern flatbreads to spongy sourdough; – bread lends itself to so many interesting varieties. There’s something for every palate.
Eating one’s food from ‘trenchers’ was very common in medieval England. Stale loaves of bread were carved into hollow dishes called ‘trenchers’ in which thee meal was served – a precursor to today’s bread-bowl used for soups and dips! The early eighteenth century Earl of Sandwich, too busy with work to eat asked his serving man to put his meat between two slices of bread so he could continue working while he ate. Thus was born the sandwich. Today’s sandwiches are toasted, grilled, triple-decker, open-faced, crust-less, thick-cut, roti-wraps or flatbreads. From the simple ploughman’s dark bread and cheese sandwich to the sophisticated grilled tomato and Brie on focaccia, bread is consumed all over the world. But bread isn’t just about toast at breakfast or a sandwich at lunch.
Bread is very versatile in other forms - scrumptious in a bread and butter pudding, crunchy in a Tuscan panzanella bread salad or as a great topper on baked French onion soup. During WW2 when meat was scarce bread became the ideal filler for ‘sausages’.
Check out your local neighborhood for today’s newer artisan breads made with a variety of grains and olives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs or dried cranberries. Break bread with your friends as often as you can and don’t worry about planning the big fancy menu. A sliced baguette served with some extra virgin olive oil for dipping makes a quick appetizer when friends drop over suddenly. Crostini with a topping of tomatoes goes great with a glass of chilled wine. Use bread in all your recipes not just in making sandwiches. Vegetarian? No problem! Try wraps with a hummus-cucumber-tomato filling. Or spicy curried potatoes and yogurt in a roti. Remember a slice and a half of bread represents your daily requirement – so why not make it interesting. The next time you’re out grocery shopping and you find yourself reaching for the same old boring loaf why not try something different? Even the humble grilled cheese takes on a whole new meaning when made with 12-grain bread. From appetizers and salads to entrees and dessert bread has become an important part of our diets.
by Sheila LoGuisto
The following is a link to a bread recipe plus a short video highlighting making bread. Bon appétit!
Eaten all over the world, tomatoes are highly prized by gardeners who are constantly experimenting with new varieties. Contrary to popular belief tomatoes are actually fruits, not vegetables due to their seed content. But, tomatoes are not restricted to cooking alone - they have also found their place in the cultural arena. The annual tomato-fight festival - "La Tomatina"- in Bunol, Spain is a major tourist delight. A century ago angry theater-goers started the trend of hurling rotten tomatoes at awful performers!
The 2013 Summerlicious event will be held from July 5th to 21st 2013. Summerlicious 2013 will feature over 100 of Toronto's restaurants providing three course lunch ($15, $20 or $25) and/or dinner ($25, $35 or $45) menus for your dining pleasure.