The Wood-Fired Blog


Michael Pollan is one of my favorite food writers. His book Omnivor’s Dilemma was my first window into industrial food production, and he played a big role in the food documentaries Food, Inc., and Fresh. It’s a pretty sobering view. If you are looking to hear a funny interview, you can find Mr. Pollan appearance on NPR’s Wait, wait… don’t tell me. This is unrelated, but Peter Sagal, the host of Wait, wait… don’t tell me, is also a runner and I have shared a couple of fun emails with him.

Michael Pollan Cooked

Mr. Pollan is back in the press this week with his latest book — Cooked. A Natural History of Transformation. I have not read the book yet, but I have read a number of reviews, interviews and related articles, and one of the themes is that bread fermented with sourdough cultures is easier to digest, and does not result in the insulin spike that many people experience when they eat white flour supermarket bread. I have blogged about this in past, but supermarket bread really isn’t “bread” in the traditional sense, where yeast or a sourdough culture works on the wheat flour. Rather it is cheap white flour that is whipped up with a series of chemicals and dough conditioners that mimic the leavening process.

I read a very similar analysis of sourdough bread in a Triathlete magazine flying back from Boston. That article was written from the perspective of the athlete looking to get the most nutrition our of their food — and sourdough bread was highly recommended.

This makes me think that someone out there is trying to tell me something.

I have been baking for years, and there have been long stretches where I have happily maintained a sourdough culture and used very little cultured commercial yeast. I think it’s time to bring back my sourdough. This is really exciting. Not only do I like sourdough bread, there is even some pretty compelling evidence that it is good for me — both from a health and an athletic performance perspective. You can’t beat that.

I’ll take lots of pictures and let you know how it goes.

A Brief Report on Boston 2 Big Sur

It’s been a pretty odd couple of weeks. Following the events at the Boston Marathon, we were starting to settle down a little bit when we started getting security text alerts from MIT on the Thursday evening. Our daughter was fine and on the other side of campus, but her boyfriend was in the building across the street from where the shooting took place and he and a bunch of students had to be escorted back to the dorms. And then the crazy series of events long into Thursday night and Friday, and lots of time locked down at school. The memorial service for the slain MIT policeman was very moving; he was such an outstanding young man, and he was doing what he loved.

Big Sur Marathon

Then I caught the flu.

Maybe it was relief that I was feeling as I ran the last few miles of Big Sur. The crowds at the finish line were great, and I always see people I know. Then I got to hang out in the B2B tent at the finish line and talk with the other runners who did the double. Runners are a great bunch, and of course we all had the two races as a common experience. From the school bus trip to the start at 3:30AM to the post race festivities, it was an outstanding day. The weather was glorious and the headwind, while definitely present, wasn’t too bad. Well, not terrible.

I am now one of about 19 runners who have done all four B2B events.

It’s time to move on and start planning tomorrow’s crazy stunts. Ironman in late July, CIM in December and then Boston 2014. I’m getting older, but I refuse to slow down.



Boston 2014

Monday was a beautiful day in Boston. Perfect weather for running, it was clear and chilly, with almost no wind; runner friends had converged on Boston from all over the planet; the crowds cheering on the runners were fantastic; the race organizers and volunteers are the best, and my daughter and her friends are having a great college experience across the river in Cambridge — and we all have a lot of fun when we get together. These are the things that really matter, and they are the things that make all of our community events, whether it’s the local 5K or a big city marathon, so special. And Boston is the best.


MIT at Night

I was through the finish area safely ahead of the events, but one friend in our running group was close enough to hear the noise and feel the air move, and another was guiding a disabled runner and they were still on the course, and they had to work their way through the chaos to find their families.

Word in the runner community is that Boston 2014 is going to be huge. Which makes perfect sense; the running community, Boston and our society are strong and we are looking to the future with confidence. Everyone who is fast enough to qualify wants to be there to support Boston and our community. Runners are even going to come out of retirement to re-qualify, just to give their support.  I will be proud to be there.

Of course I am not from Boston. But here are two articles that I appreciated from Boston-native writers.

Strength in the Face of Evil

Messing with the Wrong City



NY Times — eCommerce Sites Cut out the Middleman

There is an interesting phenomenon highlighted in the NY Times today — a growing number of eCommerce sites actually make their own products, rather than acting as intermediaries between the manufacturer and the end customer (think Amazon). Their lead example is a start-up, Warby Parker, an eyeglasses web site.

Souce: NY Times

Souce: NY Times

I say this is interesting, because it is a trend that Forno Bravo have been involved in for years. We are both a large eCommerce platform and an equipment manufacturer — all under one roof. We don’t specifically come out and say it, but our customers all enjoy “Factory Direct” pricing (even when they work with a local Forno Bravo dealer). Good stuff.