Barges and bread A new book looks at London and the grain trade

Even before the Romans, grain arrived in what was to become London by water, and it continues to do so today, although the mechanics of the trade have changed beyond recognition. One of the last people to move grain by water upstream from London shares her experience and the history of moving grain by water.

Bread remembered

Back in January I talked to Suzanne Dunaway about Buona Forchetta, the bakery she and her husband Don started and eventually sold. An early social marketing campaign and the perils of being driven by price made it worth listening to again. If you enjoyed this trailer, and hadn’t heard the …

What is Chametz? Neither science nor scholarship can really answer the question

Medieval illustration of passover

A sign in Jerusalem in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The English text reads: Please refrain from eating "Chametz" (bread and other leavened foods)in the Jewish quarter during Passover. Thank you!One of the key activities in an observant Jewish household’s preparation for Passover is the hunt for and destruction of chametz, anything that involves leavened grain. At one level, the search means that the house gets an extremely thorough cleaning at least once a year. At another, there are associations that equate ridding the house of chametz with ridding the mind of ego and other spiritual concerns. But what exactly is chametz? In trying to get to some sort of “truth” I discovered that there can be no right or wrong answer, only opinions, more or less persuasive, more or less accepted. In the end, the meaning of chametz rests on history and tradition, and new traditions are possible.


  1. I do have a list of all the sources I consulted, which I can share if needed.
  2. Here is a copy of the script.
  3. Banner image from the National Library of Israel. Cover image via Wikimedia Commons

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Special collections

There isn’t an easy way to build a playlist, at least I haven’t found one. This is the next best thing, links to pages that gather all the episodes on selected specific topics. I hope to keep adding to these. Bread All of the micro-episodes on the history of wheat …

Heritage cereals anyone?

In the middle of Our Daily Bread, I got a message from Shelley at Against the Grain Farms in Canada. They’ve been working on restoring old varieties of wheat and barley for the past 31 years and they’re looking to contact farmers and researchers who would like to collaborate in …