Devour Food & Film Festival
Location: Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Date: Friday, Oct 23, 2020
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
* includes the short Alchemy.
* physical event includes a Q&A after the film with director Darrell Varga and Festival Host Bob Blumer.
The cultural history of bread is not just about how people come together to bake, but also with its influence in Western Civilization. The analogies made in Bread in the Bones is simply amazing as it delves into different platforms of expression. From edible art by Salvador Dali to poetry by Lewis Carroll, there’s a lot to this loaf’s hold in various aspects of life which I didn’t even realize!
I won’t discuss the politics as it’s not my thing, but I will say many Bakers, authors and historians (sorry, no candlestick makers) are featured in this scrumptious documentary made by baker, professor and film historian Darrell Varga. He’s travelled off the beaten track to gather different stories to feature in his work. Stu Silverstein stands out because while he may look like a stoner from the 70s, he has a lot of far out wisdom to note.
Peter Reinhart is another individual. He’s a writer and instructor who nicely sums up the importance of this loaf, and the problems faced by those who took up baking making as a trade in the 1920s. While baking dates all the way back to the stone age, a lot has changed in the age of industrialization, and this work is careful in how it’s influenced the creation of bread for the masses.
The dialogue overlaid with Charlie Chaplin in “Dough and Dynamite” is bang on to relate the issues with immigration in the 1910s. Though these anecdotes are good to know, they don’t answer the larger question of why wheat is important in the development of society. Without it, would humanity evolve? There are a lot of anthropological points to consider as the role of bread traces back to the days of Ancient Egyptian civilization.
The role of this bun in our daily life is wondrously demystified. Although the spiritual context is very light, I think the ultimate theme is about why bread is considered a necessity to survival of the human spirit. There is a joy involved in the making of, handling and consumption. Now give me garlic butter to spread….
Although nothing is said about the difference between white and whole wheat, I know I default to the latter since most folks consider it to be more healthy. So is sourdough, and to learn of a museum dedicated to this leavening agent exists had me asking if anyone visiting could ask for a scoby?
This documentary has a lot of excellent information to take home. His work can easily be expanded upon and sliced up for a television series where each episode focuses on a particular country or specific theme. A few nations weren’t covered in this feature length exposition; although most Asian cultures love rice, we enjoy our noodles (a wheat product) too. And there’s steamed buns that I adore squeezing when fresh baked.
4 Blokes out of 5