I have to agree–reading is a slim promise these days. I find myself with piles of new, unread books around the house–stacked beside my bed, on the table in my daughter’s room, on top of the bookshelves, kitchen table, and on it goes…That is to say, I cannot leave a bookstore empty-handed, and I have no time for actually cracking said purchased books. Depressing.

But I have noticed a trend in what I am (not) reading lately. Some fiction, yes, some kid lit and some adult. But I also love a good non-fiction read, and apparently I really love books about one thing. One ingredient, to be exact. On my bookshelf right now are Cheese and Culture by Paul Kindstedt, chloroform by Linda Stratman(okay, not an ingredient, but definitely fits the one-thing category!), Salt by Mark Kurlansky and Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off. I suspect this is an overall trend in NF publishing, but it’s still intriguing. And when I started to think about it, I realised each of these books goes deep into the history and function of these ingredients, which makes for a complex and holistic read. History from the perspective of chocolate–what could be better? Which brings me to another small discovery:

Fry bread. I promise there’s a connection here.


I live in the Pacific Northwest, where bannock is the Native (we say First Nations) dough most often heard about, though I had also heard of fry bread. Last night I wanted to make something to go with a pot of soup and was out of regular bread, so I did a google search. A quick-bread cooked in oil and eaten hot? Yes please.


Pioneer Woman has a nice little recipe and how-to on her website. Check out the Indian tacos!

So, the connection is this: My quest for a dinner side dish, and the simplest of recipes–just flour, leavening agent, salt and milk–led me to learn a whole lot about something completely different–First Nations cultures’ historical use of government rations to create a staple food–their own kind of bread. There’s a great article about it here.

I just love history I can eat. Now if only that book about chocolate were edible…