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Drawing by Ann Arnold, who created the Bamboo Bag.

January 24, 2008

Bamboo Bags for Bread Storage

In our house, we don’t eat a lot of bread, but we like what we do eat to be the best: just-this-side-of-charred, crusty crust and a chewy, well-baked interior, all made from the best flour. This means that we place a premium on effective bread storage. For some years this has meant using IKEA’s take on an old-fashioned metal bread box, which we augment by bagging the bread in plastic recycled from the produce market.

One recent, frosty winter night, food-loving friends Patricia Unterman and Tim Savinar arrived with a holiday gift that replaced all this in a New York heartbeat. The Bamboo Bag contains in its fibers an anti-fungal protein and produces a natural anti-bacterial substance called “bamboo kun.” Unlike plastic, the bamboo fabric breathes yet retains moisture, creating an ideal environment for storing bread.

I was a little doubtful as I slipped my first freshly-baked loaf of Acme walnut bread into the bamboo bag, one day before heading off to New York for a week. But, when I returned, the bread hadn’t molded and still had sufficient integrity to give me my morning toast.

The bags are available at San Francisco Bay Area bakeries or through www.bamboo-bag.com.

Our history with bamboo--
Five years ago our friend, Ray Kinoshita, a professor of architecture at the University of Massachusetts, took a sabbatical in Japan with her scientist-writer husband Charles (Cam) Mann and their two children, Emilia and Schuyler. We were invited to insinuate ourselves into this year abroad and did so enthusiastically for one glorious month.

There, we saw regal stands of forest bamboo in parks and public gardens from Tokyo to Shikoku. We discovered the delicacy of tender bamboo shoots dug fresh and served almost immediately. We saw pliable, durable eyeglass frames fabricated in this strong grass and jeans woven from its fibers. We saw beautiful fence and garden details of bamboo poles.

Prior to this trip, we’d installed bamboo flooring in our SoMa San Francisco home, cultivated forest bamboo in the garden with the expert assistance of Santa Cruz bamboo guru Karl Bareis and planted a second stand of bamboo in our Napa Valley garden. 

In Hong Kong we marveled at bamboo scaffolding towering alongside high-rise buildings. In Oaxaca, Mexico we joined Chicago restaurateur and cookbook-author friends Rick and Deann Bayless at their Christmas party, sipping local mescal from bamboo cups.

Now, it seems that bamboo is ubiquitous. There are bamboo plates and utensils, cutting boards and prefabricated bamboo buildings. Wherever it turns up, it seems to be a life enhancer. We can’t wait to see what’s next.


Posted by Pamela at January 24, 2008 2:20 AM| Share on Facebook |

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