I originally wrote this story for The Hamilton Spectator.
I have a loaf of bread baking in my oven as I type.
One thing is certain: it won’t be as good anything John Graham bakes.
I call the proprietor of Grimsby’s Park Road Bread a sourdough Svengali. The man makes fermented flour work for him in an almost magical way. A way that eludes me.
Maybe it’s all the precious language around getting the all-important starter, which is simply flour and water, to … start. Most people call the festering concoction that leavens bread a mother, which is enough to scare the bejeezus out of me.
I don’t want to do wrong by anything named Mother, and yet, I’ve inadvertently killed many mothers by not feeding them enough flour, feeding them the wrong kind, or worse, forgetting to feed them anything at all.
“Think of it like an army,” Graham told me when we met at his home earlier this summer.