Industrial Harvest

What Happened to the flour, part 7: bagels by sarah kavage

Having never made bagels, I’m impressed with this young woman.  I have pretty strong opinions about bagels and still daydream fondly about the Bagel Hole in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a tiny storefront bagel deli responsible for what I believe to be the best bagels of all time.

From: H
To: sarah
Date: Sat, October 2, 2010 8:23:09 AM
Subject: Flour and Bagels
Dear Sarah Kavage,
I am a junior in high-school at Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago.
On Tuesday of this past week, I met Tara Lane (at the Hull House soup kitchen) and received a very cool bag of flour.
Before this attempt, I had never made bagels before. I figured the flour should be the main ingredient in the baked good of choice, so bagels seemed to be the ideal new endeavor.
I was so happy when they came out of the oven looking lovely (although not perfect- they had character) and
tasting delicious!
Your project is incredible! If there is any way I could get involved as a high-schooler, please let me know!
Thank you so much for your flour,
and changing the way we relate to food,
(P.S. In my AP Lang class at Payton, we are working in conjunction with the Pulitzer center to produce a
documentary on a local issue. My group will be focusing on food insecurity in Chicago. As we develop our
ideas, would it be okay to contact you for new ideas or information?)



H’s bagels look like a bagel should – shiny crust on the outside, golden brown, not too big or fluffy.  Some sesame seeds on top would be the bomb.  Yum!


Giving, Taking, Lots of Baking by sarah kavage

It’s been in the back of my head for awhile, this nagging doubt:  “What if no one wants flour?”

I mean, do people really bake anymore?  Some of my friends do, and I’ve certainly met plenty of dedicated bakers in the last few months, but really, I was somewhat apprehensive and feeling like baking might be a little bit of a lost art.  But I’ve been surprised and delighted at the response at the last couple of events!  After last week’s Hull House talk, almost 30 folks lined up for a few cups of flour to take home and use.  People were taking flour for friends, neighbors, relatives – the highlight being one woman who picked up some flour for herself, her son and her 90-year old father, who still bakes a few times a week.

The very next morning, I got the first report-back from one of the recipients, who said: “”I used 2 cups of your flour to make 12 large buttermilk biscuits this morning, and I brought them over to my neighbor’s. They were delicious!”

And then today, I took a train / bike jaunt out to North Chicago / Waukegan to give a little lunchtime talk to the youth and staff at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Green Youth Farm

And again, was not really sure what to expect.  These are kids, and I know when I was a kid I pretty much sat around and ate junk food and waited for Mom to call me to the table.  But after an hour of helping in the garden in the heat of the day, it was pretty clear that these kids were different.  I did not hear one complaint, with the exception of the little voice in my own head that kept repeating “hot…tired…hungry…”

We stopped for lunch, I gave my little talk and thought I’d be pretty much able to relax, except then the whole crew started lining up to take home flour!  I was totally impressed and again, delighted that they accepted this somewhat strange gift with such enthusiasm.  Between the youth and the staff, they took at least as much flour as folks did at the Hull House talk.

For those who have protested the lack of pictures, I am waiting on pictures that other folks took of these events, and will post them as soon as I get ’em, unless I’m making awful faces or something.  In the meantime, please enjoy this recipe for whole-wheat-pizza that I wrote up for the Green Youth youth.  Also good on a stovetop or grill.