I’m here today with a quick review of Paul Graham’s book, In Memory of Bread. This book was given to me for free in exchange for an honest review.
I selected this book because I follow a low-carb, ketogenic, gluten-free diet. It has improved my health (physical and mental) and has allowed me to shed pounds that I have not been able to lose in any other way. I saw this book available for review and thought, Yes, this book is right up my alley.
I cannot fathom how it must feel to be told you cannot have gluten, but as somebody who has willingly chosen it, I can identify with Paul’s feelings about missing “good” bread. He seems like an accomplished home chef who’s a total foodie, and his world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. For those who are unaware, Celiacs cannot process gluten, a protein found in wheat and some other grains. Symptoms of the disease and tolerance for certain grains falls on a spectrum, and Paul falls on the more severe end, limiting his food choices.
For somebody who enjoys freshly baked artisan bread, this came as quite a shock for him. Luckily, his wife stood by his side and started a grain-free diet with him. I know firsthand how important spousal support is when trying to make such a drastic lifestyle change.
At times, I found the book to drag on a bit, especially when the author lamented about how much he missed bread and beer. I can understand going through somewhat of a grieving process for your old lifestyle, but I also felt that some of it could have been removed and the book would have been the same.
However, despite the lengthy descriptions of failed recipes and sadness, I appreciate how candid Paul was about his fear of going to restaurants. Places that were favorites of his were suddenly very terrifying places to be. As he points out, many of those with Celiac Disease eat at home after diagnosis because one cannot be 100% certain of zero cross-contamination (anything that comes into contact with gluten, even equipment) when they aren’t preparing their own food. I cannot imagine walking into my favorite restaurant and eating there while worrying the entire time that I’d be suffering later.
By the end, he seems to have come to terms with the diagnosis and even found a gluten-free bread recipe that tastes pretty darn close to the real deal. He found beers that came close to the craft brews he was used to, and he seems to has accepted his fate.
If you’re somebody who’s gluten-intolerant, Celiac, or somebody who otherwise eats grain-free and wants to see how somebody else handled the switch, this could be a book for you.
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