UPDATE: Since we first published this post, Una Morera’s video has become inaccessable online, most likely because it was made an official selection for the New York Food Festival. Yay for Morera. So sadly for us, you’ll have to wait until it’s made public again. Fortunately, we sussed the video and its essential quotes, below.

When we first got wind of the Una Morera’s short documentary about Maurizio Negrini, a 3rd generation Italian baker, we callously thought “h-mm-m, bread…probably too specific …better suited for a food blog.”

We found that this beauty of a video goes way beyond its subject into much deeper realms…or perhaps it is that it reminds us what handmade bread is really about. “Artisan baker” is about bread as nourishment and as metaphor, bread as cosmic substance, thoughtfully expressed by Negrini:

When I think of flour, water, yeast and salt, my first association is bread. Then it goes deeper than that. Then I start to think of the elements. I think of water. I think of earth as flour. I think of air as yeast. And firt that brings everything together into a loaf. The elements of life…

…I’ve been doing this job for a long long time and some aspects are very repetitive. Even if I do it everyday and it’s the same thing, there is something about it that is still a miracle: to see a loaf of bread out of the oven.

In analyzing what good bread is, one of Negrini’s tests is “how well it nurses you.”  He carries his philosophy to food:

“Food made with love is good. Food made without love is bad.”  Simple. We’ve found this to be a key in cooking for people in trouble. Food made with love heals and soothes; it nurses.

Watching Negrini’s way made us think, curiously, of  choices we can make to live more acutely and presently. There is a great deal of wisdom to be found in this short, heartening video.

Related posts: xbatali’s beautiful ‘fuck you’: a tale of 9/11
m.f.k. fisher’s “mystic materialism of a hungry woman”
hotel room oven-ette
serious butter (if you can’t buy it, make it)
tailor-made cutting boardx

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4 replies on “‘artisan baker’ by una morera: ‘peace is half bread’

  1. Thank-you for sharing this exquisite expression of bread and love. Seeing Negrini and his fellow bakers use their hands is like watching a dance performance, their bodies at one with the ingredients and process.

  2. Forwarded this post to my brother, who loves to bake bread. He replied, “That was a very nice thing to send to me! I would stop it and back it up ust so I could see him handling dough. Watching it, I could feel the satin softness of some of the dough that I make. There is still a wonderment when I take the lid off of my bread to let it brown. It went in the oven like a worm and comes out like a butterfly.”
    Thanks. It was a treat for both of us.

  3. If you can get your hands on Tony Denonno’s “Part of Your Loving” (http://www.denonnoproductions.com/) you will see the NYC version of an artisan Italian baker circa 1977. The bakers express many of the same ideas. Lovely.

  4. Love anyway. Love my enemies. Love God. Love my authentic self. Love truth. Love you. Love life. Love bread. Love everyone even if they believe lies about me. Love us truth, God and my authentic self. Love is fearless.

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