Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pompeii Revisited

I revisit Pompeii frequently without leaving my country.  This involves remembering the tradition of brick oven baking, the long, long stretch of time during which bread has been the center of food production and consumption... and symbolic of home.

It is with Pompeii, and ovens all over the Western World, in mind that I embark on new brick oven projects.  My job, as I see it, is to build the best functioning brick oven with today's materials AND infuse it with the historical depth of tradition.

In order to do this, I have resisted short-cuts in production, avoided cast refractory components, and offered an entirely custom approach to the oven and its finishing details.  This does not mean that all my ovens look ancient.  Perhaps it is a contradiction that I will incorporate even modern motifs in the exteriors (or put the oven in a horse trailer).  It means that the overall impression of the complete oven satisfies our sense of historical engagement.

Then we get to baking, searing, broiling, smoking food... followed by a feast.

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