Friday, May 1, 2015

Alcohol, Grain and Going to Crazy Land

Last weekend I toured the local, one could say artisanal, One Eight Distilling, makers of gin and vodka, in Washington, DC's Ivy City. Hearing that their flour grinder is not in use very much, I asked about the possibility of grinding actual flour (not flour for alcohol making) there with their local, organic whole grains. The owner gave me that look, the one that says, no and maybe you should consider a psychiatric medication. This reignites the quest for local whole grains and now I know they actually exist, albeit in the form of animal-feed quality, whatever that means. I will have to ask the new, just-opened, bakery up the street about their flour situation. Of course, I could trek again over to that downtown farmers market, the only one that carries freshly ground flours.

There is also now on the table a birthday offer of a grinder to make flour. Not sure, but very tempted. Would be great to have local, organic grains to do this. Worth a return to that market now that it's spring. The farmer who sells whole grain flours also carries wheat and rye berries.

Health at stake
Really my health is at stake. Every website I look at practically screams with dire warnings if I do not home grind. Apparently, all of the whole flours I have been baking with have already lost all of their nutritional value by the time I get them home, let alone by the time I put them into a dough. I might as well have been eating straight white flour and potato chips, well, organic potato chips. 

On top of reading website materials with alarming health warnings, I have visited the truly crazytown sites that discuss storing grain for years, something that survivalists do when contemplating the end of civilization as we know it. For them, the week-long loss of power 10 years ago was likely the small earthquake that augurs the big one that will result in the permanent cessation of electricity unless you were smart enough to invest in solar or your own personal wind farm out in the middle of the desert (assuming a water source). These are the people I will be making common cause with when I bring those first wheat or rye berries into the house. [Photo of an azalea bush down the block.]

To use different logic, if Bernie Sanders, a Brooklyn boy, can move to Vermont and - decades later - run for President, I can do the Vermont-y thing of milling my own flour without totally leaping off the edge. Not quite sure there's a working analogy there.

Danger signs
Please do not let me start growing and threshing wheat in the backyard. I do not know my way around farming implements. It's that Brooklyn upbringing. And if I start storing a year's worth of canned goods, act quickly, slap my face, and shout very loudly "snap out of it." Knowing me, I will have the tons of cans, but forget the can opener.

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