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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2011 * Archive through January 05, 2011 * Essay contest < Previous Next >

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Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2576
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Panera is sponsoring some "Passion for baking" essay contest that my wife wanted me to write for. I though maybe you guys might like this. First draft follows.

Historians agree that the genesis of human civilization was the organized cultivation of grain. There is disagreement, however, as to whether the grain was intended for the baking of bread or the brewing of beer. Could both claims be correct?

A modern-day beer lover revels in the grainy, sometimes bready, crackery, toasty or even roasted character of the malted grains used to make the wide variety of world beer styles available to the knowledgable consumer today. Likewise, a contemporary lover of bread has an almost unimaginable variety of loaves, rolls, pastries, and confections from which to choose, ranging from the palest ivory to the darkest brown, from the lightest and most delicate cake to the darkest, most robust pumpernickel.

Modern beer is usually made with a pure culture of brewer's yeast, but traditionally beer was fermented with a variety of mostly wild microorganisms, resulting in complex and unique flavors and aromas. These traditional methods are still being utilized by a few artisanal Belgian breweries, and they are being adopted by a few skilled and creative American craft breweries. Modern bread is made from the same species of yeast as beer, but traditional cultures typified by sourdough produce their own unique complexity and tanginess in a variety of modern products widely available for our enjoyment.

The brewing of beer and the baking of bread thus share much in terms of history, ingredients, and techniques. As a passionate homebrewer and baker, I believe the two are inextricably linked.

As a homebrewer, I mix milled grains with hot water to form an aromatic mash, replete with the rich, bready aromas of barley, wheat, and occasionally other grains such as rye, oats, spelt, or triticale. As a baker, I mix the flours of such grains to form an equally aromatic dough. The recipe for both is my own, shaped by experience and personal creativity, and limited only by my own imagination. I boil the beer; I bake the bread. In both cases, my home is filled with the same rich, hearty, and inviting aromas that have filled homes across the world for centuries, even millenia.

The creative process and the aromas alone would be reason enough to do these things, but thankfully there always awaits an even greater reward. As a brewer, I produce a product that is as good or better than I could buy in any store, and in the end, it is my personal creation. As a baker, the loaf I create is mine and mine alone, the product of knowledge and technique passed from generation to generation, across continents and oceans, across the vast chasms of time. Sharing a pint of my own beer and a loaf of my own bread with friends is a grand tradition repeated many thousands of times over thousands of years, across continents and cultures. With this simple act comes a sense of humanistic continuity, immense personal gratification and great joy. It is both a touchstone to the past and a gem in the present.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 12205
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.49.181
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 02:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Very nice. I hope you win something.

Putting on my hats as a writer, editor and writing teacher, there is not very much I would change. I might fiddle with the last sentence, as the conclusion is so important in these matters. I like "touchstone to the past," but "gem" doesn't strike me as the right word to pair with the present. And I suspect that adding "[something] to the future" would be the proper use of parallel structure that would give the conclusion the right pizazz.

It's your essay and I don't want to write it for you, so perhaps this might stimulate some thoughts on your part.
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 2577
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 72.15.105.173
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 02:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's a 500-word limit and I used 500 words. I can't change the end without chopping something else. I agree with you, though.

I don't care. I finished my first graduate course today and I'm drinking copious quantities of homebrew to celebrate. I did it to mollify her.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 6206
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 75.165.202.6
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 04:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Passion for Baking"
by chumley

Since Montana legalized medical marijuana a couple of years ago, I have re-discovered my passion for getting baked.

My back don't hurt so much anymore.

Thank you, government!

The End.

by chumley, age 49.
 

Alec
Junior Member
Username: Pdxal

Post Number: 90
Registered: 03-2009
Posted From: 71.214.77.242
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 07:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I vote for Chumley's.
 

Michael
Senior Member
Username: Hoppop

Post Number: 1096
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 24.74.82.242
Posted on Friday, November 19, 2010 - 05:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graham, very nice.

Chumley, I almost spit my coffee out when I read that....LMAO.