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Bread is Civilization Itself

Bread is Civilization Itself

Bread maker Rick Easton took the words right out of our mouth.

In a short Vimeo film produced by Squid and Beard, Rick expounds on the essence of bread and bread making as a lens for life. “There’s a lot of lessons to be learned in bread,” he says, cup of tea in hand. “It takes sensitivity. It takes vigilance. It takes a discipline. A focus. It takes care. And I think these are all qualities that I hope I express in my daily life, I certainly fall short quite a bit. And of course we don’t always make perfect bread either. Part of it is that striving and I think that matters a lot.”

Rick speaks from experience: As co-owner of Sub Rosa Bakery in Richmond, VA, he makes bread the ancient way, with wild yeast, in a wood-fire oven. Playing on the secrecy inherent in its name, Sub Rosa describes itself as “an open secret,” an institution committed to the simple mission of making masterful baked goods.

Sub Rosa’s is a transparent process, as captured in the film: the interview with Rick takes place in front of the wood-fire oven. Crossed above the brickwork are two paddles whittled with a kitchen knife and inscribed with the Latin “Vigilantia” and “Sensitivus” – the key ingredients in baking. Against this backdrop, Rick speaks philosophically about bread as “civilization itself.”

“For me, you can’t eat a meal without bread. Food is something you eat with bread. You sit down to a meal and there is no bread on the table, how do you eat?,” he says. “It’s a utensil. It’s the most basic and essential way of feeding someone. Bread: it’s this absolute necessity, this staple foodstuff. And it’s pure. And it’s simple.”

And yet, for all his philosophy, Rick is humble, a true team player. He gives credit where credit is due: his bakery crew. “I don’t believe Sub Rosa bread could be a one man job. Because I think what we do is ridiculous. Anything that evolves over 24 hours of straight work that’s crazy. But it is what we do. It’s the choice we make. It’s how we have to do what we do right now, but doing it together is what makes it possible.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Doing it together is what makes Persephone possible. Thanks Wade Taylor (our bread baker extraordinaire) for introducing us to Rick and this video.