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In Memory of BreadPaul Graham

Paul Graham - In Memory of Bread"Graham skillfully blends each part of his memoir with the precision of a baker: it's part history and part science, with a dash of humor and a generous helping of exquisite storytelling." —Publishers Weekly


In Memory of Bread is a personal, cultural, and scientific exploration of civilization’s most significant food and our changing relationship to it in the era of "gluten-free." Paul Graham — a food writer and gourmand with a passion for bread and beer — became one of the gluten-free when, at thirty-six, he found himself in a northern New York hospital, suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding, precipitous weight loss, and a range of other symptoms so grim that his wife thought he was dying. His doctors diagnosed celiac disease.

Why are so many of us — by force or by choice — leaving behind bread and other cherished, wheat-related foods? Graham’s search for answers leads him in many directions: the industrial food chain, the potential impact of GMOs and wheat breeding, the volume of wheat we consume, advances in hygiene, and the gluten-free "frankenfoods" that manufacturers have started pushing in supermarkets. Eventually this quest leads him to his own backyard and neighboring farms.

Robbed of the true gourmand's pursuits (no tagliatelle in Italy, no pints of Guinness in Ireland, no ramen in Asia or even birthday cake in his own kitchen), Graham explores the sense of loss that comes when the foods that give us meaning are suddenly gone. In turn his commitment to community agriculture and locavorism deepens, and he reaches new insights about the relationship between our food, homes, bodies, and minds.

Paul Graham's essays appeared in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Best Food Writing anthology. He received his MFA from Michigan and his BA from St. Lawrence University, where he is currently Associate Professor of English (and teaches a course on the history of food literature).

Published by Clarkson Potter in 2016.