April 23, 2020 Courtney Hudak

Radical Means Root

I. 

Those who say
burn it all down
are those who forget
who suffers most
while things burn.[1]

II. 

Take a cup of water. Add a cup of flour. Stir it 100 times. For as many days as it takes, continue adding approximately the same amount of flour and water every day, around the same time, stirring 100 times, until the mixture in your bowl bubbles. 

That is your starter. Add a heaping tablespoon of it to 200 grams of flour (any kind) and 200 grams of water. This is your leaven. Leave it overnight.

The next morning, add 200 grams of leaven to 1000 grams of flour and 700 grams of water. Let that sit a half hour. Add 30 grams of salt and 50 grams of water. 

Develop the gluten by folding your dough every 30-60 minutes until the dough gets boufy. What does folding mean? I don’t know. Try some stuff. I do it in folds from north, south, east, and west, but I just learned about a lady who does it like making a dumpling. See what works for you.

When your dough is boufy, look on the internet for all the different ways you can shape a loaf or two. Or just create a shape and put it in a pan. See what happens. 

Bake at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit until the loaf is pretty dark, and when you knock it, the sound is more thock than thud.

Tricky bit: Take the bread from the oven, place it on a rack or just on the grates of your stove or anyway on something that lets it get a little air circulating around it and then WAIT. If you wait for an hour, your bread will somehow become more delicious. I don’t know why.

III.

Between 1943 and 1946, E.B. White published a series of essays stating “the case for world government” in The New Yorker. On December 25, 1943, he published one about a dream he had of the end of the world. 83 countries remained, and they all sent delegates to a convention to decide what to do next. 

“Each delegate,” White writes, “brought the flag of his homeland with him – each, that is, except the delegate from China.” That delegate and a philosopher friend had decided, instead, to send a wild flag: Iris tectorum

“…we have decided to adopt this flag, since it is a convenient and universal device and very beautiful and grows everywhere in moist places of the earth for all to observe and wonder at.”

A close up of a newspaper

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From The Wild Flag, by E.B. White


[1] Paraphrased from a conversation with the Honorable Justice (Professor) Joel Ngugi.