Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book was the first time I saw a reference H.E. Jacobs Six Thousand Years of Bread.
I’m pretty sure I got it mail order – that’s what we called getting things sent to you without actually going to the store, back in the day. Probably though Jessica’s Biscuit, which is now ecookbooks.com
To quote from the introduction to my edition:
When it first came out, published in English in 1945, Paul Sears for the Saturday Review wrote:
“So important do I consider this book, that I hope no pains will be spared to clear it of numerous and serious defects by thoroughgoing revision. … The opening section on ‘The Bread of Prehistoric Man’ needs to be gone over jointly by students of biology and cultural anthropology.”
Foreward, p. xii. Six Thousand Years of Bread : It’s Holy and Unholy History. 1944 1997.The Lyons Press: NY.
I agree that this is an important book about bread, but it also defies categorization. Is it anthropology? Or literature? History?? Is it a product of it’s time? Yes and no to all of the above. I also agree with Paul Sears that the first section could use some technical assistance, and I’d throw a few archeologists and foodways sorts into the mix. Perhaps even a folklorist or two.
If you are going to study bread you need to spend some time with 6,000 Years. The Fresh Loaf also has an essay on this book.
If you’re going eat bread, read on.
“‘World peace means a peace of bread,’ Hoover to me in May 1943. ‘ The first word in a war is spoken by the guns – but the last word has always been spoken by bread… …
In the Buchenwald concentration camp we had no real bread at all; what we called bread was a mixture of potato flour, peas, and sawdust. The inside was the color of lead; the crust looked and tasted like iron. The thing sweated water like the brow of a tormented man….Nevertheless, we called it bread, in memoriam of the real bread we had formerly eaten. We loved it and could scarcely wait for it to be distributed among us.
Many died there without ever tasting real bread again. I still live. It seems remarkable to me that I can eat real bread. Bread is holy. And bread is profane. It is most wonderful when all can have it. In the six thousand years that men and bread have lived side by side there have often been moments when each of God’s creatures had all they wanted. “And they were filled”, the Bible says. No simpler words can be written to describe happiness, satisfaction, gratitude.
p. 380, closing words of Six Thousand Years of Bread: Its Holy and Unholy History. Heinrich Eduard Jacob (7 October 1889 – 25 October 1967)