No sooner have I got it into my head that a weekly newsletter is a good thing, especially while I am not actively making podcasts, than the well runs a bit dry. So, not much this week, but I am gearing up to start a new season of podcasts in early September, which is something I hope we are all looking forward to.
As a European, it is hardly suprising that I have a European bias when it comes to breads. I tend to think in terms of loaves rather than, say, flatbreads. So it is always fun to read about breads from further afield. Breaking Bread in Hyderabad is one such piece. It dives into the different varieties of flatbread in the city, how they are commonly used (to sop up sauces) and even where to buy the best examples.
It also offers a history — or possibly mythology — of the role of a local bread in the rise of the founding dynasty and its commemoration on the state flag. That raises a bit of a problem, for me, as I could not find an image that “is yellow with a white circle”.
There’s a good selection in Wikimedia. The very plain one seems to have no provenance that I can see.
This one is labelled “Hyderabad State Flag from the 16th century to 1948, with the personal arms of the Nizam of Hyderabad, which changed from ruler to ruler”.
This one is labelled “The Asafia flag of Hyderabad. The script along the top reads Al Azmatulillah meaning ‘All greatness is for God’. The bottom script reads Ya Uthman which translates to ‘Oh Uthman’. The writing in the middle reads ‘Nizam-ul-Mulk Asif Jah’.” Can that circle really be a bread? I have to trust.
I know this is Eat This Newsletter, not Flag this Newsletter, but perhaps some kindly vexillologist could help me out.
In its never-ending quest to ensure that bread buyers in Britain are not fobbed off with a sourfaux loaf, the Real Bread Campaign recently launched its Sourdough Loaf Mark. It’ll be a matter of trust (again), with bakers promising they will use it exclusively “to market Real Bread that is leavened only using a live sourdough starter culture”.
I hope I’m allowed to use it as an illustration. And it comes just in time for Sourdough September
I had heard rumblings that the owner of a huge vegetable business in Puglia had been arrested “accused of caporalato – the practice of recruiting and coercing migrant labourers by caporale (gangmasters) to work for appallingly low wages, and to live and work in inhumane and often dangerous conditions”.
The practice is, alas, not all that uncommon in Italy or the rest of the world, and as a shopper all the due diligence in the world is unlikely to do you much good if you want to avoid it. What is so astonishing about this instance is that it has spilled over to the extremely successful natural wine business of the arrested man’s favourite daughter.
The Morning Claret, an interesting site dedicated to “natural, organic, biodynamic and artisan wine” has a long write-up: Valentina Passalacqua – an inconvenient truth?. I offer no judgement, only that it will be fascinating to see how the whole story plays out.
Given the slim pickings this week, I especially keen to hear from you about stories I might have missed.
Take care, and stay safe.