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Real Bread

Consider the headline and the subtitles of the text. Then read the text to find out:

- The main concept of Lammas festival;

- the importance of bread and its place in the diet of human being today;

- the ingredients which are not used in the traditional recipe;

- the aim of “The Real Bread Campaign”;

- the solution of the problem suggested by the author.

As Lammas Day approaches Bee Wilson ditches sliced bread for a real baker's loaf.

On 1 August it is Lammas Day, the festival of bread. In medieval times country folk used the first grains of the summer to bake great plaited loaves shaped like wheatsheaves. Unlike harvest festivals, which are a form of gloating over a successful haul of food, Lammas was more of a desperate prayer: please God, let us harvest enough to keep us in bread for another year.

Bread has become a much smaller part of our diet. Without it we wouldn't exactly suffer from carb deprivation, thanks to all the pasta, couscous, cereal, quinoa and what not at our disposal, not to mention chips. As for our bread these days, it is scarcely a staff of life. Most of what is for sale in supermarkets doesn't count as bread at all in the medieval sense; it is sad flabby stuff that has not been given time to prove, filled with too much industrial yeast, flour “improvers” and hidden enzymes.

Maybe you love your sliced white and think me a snob for attacking it. But next time you make yourself a slice of toast, look a little closer. Notice how it smells: underneath the sweetness can't you detect a tang of vinegar? And isn't it weird how it never seems to go stale, but remains soft for days on end, only to develop a sudden mould out of nowhere?

The Real Bread Campaign is a lobbying group trying to wean us off industrially produced bread. What they mean by “real” bread is loaves made using nothing but flour, salt, water and leavening agent. No processing aids. No fortification with unnecessary vitamins. No hardened fat. No mould-delaying chemicals. Just yielding crumb and a crisp crust.

The group is currently promoting “local loaves for Lammas”, encouraging us to bake or buy a local loaf; there will be events dotted round the country. If you don't live near a good baker, the campaign suggests making your own.

But there's nothing like a real baker's loaf, given time to ferment and shaped by hand. Outside London (where plenty of places sell great rustic sourdoughs) it used to be hard to find good bread, but there are glimmers of an artisan revival. In Cambridge, where I live, there's a new tiny bakery called Dovecote, making glorious light rye punctured with deep skewer holes.

Should you find some “real” bread, expect to pay about £3 to £4 a loaf. This may sound pricey, but bear in mind how it can transform your whole way of eating. With a decent loaf in the house, meals get simpler. You find yourself happily supping off an omelette or a bowl of vegetable soup – a summery minestrone, green with basil, or a thick gazpacho with a wedge of cheese on the side. Even bread and butter becomes a feast. You start to feel just a little of the gratitude of our ancestors for the grains of Lammas.

(Bee Wilson “The Telegraph”, 20 July 2010)

Practice 1. Look through the text to find out who this text is intended for:

1) nutritionists;

2) students;

3) scientists;

4) general readers;

5) teachers of English.

Practice 2. Concentrate on discovering the author’s main idea. Select the statement which best expresses the author’s main idea:

1. The text reveals the health benefits of bread and cereals.

2. The text gives the statistics of the prices per a loaf of bread.

3. The text is devoted to the history of bread baking.

4. The text describes the nutritional value of the traditionally baked bread.

Practice 3. Re-arrange the sentences in a logical order and write a summary of the article.

1. The Real Bread Campaign is promoting “local loaves for Lammas” encouraging consumers to bake or buy local bread.

2. You find yourself happy eating plain food with “right” bread.

3. Today we often replace bread with other food containing carbohydrates.

4. Most of bread found in supermarkets doesn't count as “real” bread at all.

5. The “real” bread consists of “real” flour, salt, water and leavening agent only.

Practice 4. Make a review of the article (use the vocabulary from Appendix 2 on p. 70)

Practice 5. Make a report about the Lammas Day as if you were the participant of this festival and give your ideas about the same festivals in Russia.

Practice 6. Make a short report about Russian, Udmurt or Tatar cuisine. Give the recipe of your favorite dish.

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