Real Food Challenge: Soil and Bread


A neighbor was walking by when I was digging and filling the new garden bed (our side-yard veg garden is fully visible from the street) and he came up the hill to tell me: “You’re hard at work again! And always with a smile!” I smiled but refrained from telling him what I was thinking about that made me smile so.

I was wondering what I could learn from the taste or smell of the soil. A trained palette or nose should be able to pick up certain chemicals and chemical combinations, how wet the soil is, its temperature, its crumb. Crumb… mmmm. It sounded so yummy and enticing as I was running that thick, black soil through my fingers.

No, I didn’t taste it, I only smelled it. But I did go inside to plunge my hands and nose into the Real Food Challenge that stumps me the most: baking -  anything with flour.



I made these tortillas. They’re easy, quick and yummy. Healthy, too, as I made them whole wheat and all eight of them contain in all 2 teaspoons of oil, and you cook them in a dry skillet. They’re Tex-Mex flour tortillas but I called them chapatis for the sake of combining them with this curried red lentil soup – equally quick, tasty and healthy. Amie enjoyed hers with peanut butter. We won’t be buying any more tortillas at whole Foods.


Also flour-related, this week I want to make homemade spinach pasta. A friend, hearing of my pasta cravings and despairing she’ll ever get round to making her own again, lent me her pasta machine: the real deal from Italy. I can’t wait to get those rollers going.


It has been promised that tomorrow the rain is finally going to stop. I plan to transplant chard, lettuce and spinach seedlings from the basement into the hoop house and to sow the peas. I also need to move the compost bin that’s closest to the kitchen, as it’s in the way of the stonemasons who are coming to redo our 20-year-old patio. I also want to try my hand at somehow constructing a windbreak/fence for my hive out of the sticks, branches and bark I’ve been collecting since we arrived here.

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  1. OK. I’m definitely going to have to try my hand at tortilla making. We eat them a lot but for some reason I haven’t gotten the gumption to give them a try. Homemade pasta would be great too, but I’ll save that for another time. :)

  2. How did you learn to make the chapaties? Don’t tell me Bol taught you ! They look great ! I still don’t get it right everytime….sometimes they become hard.I haven’t being able to master the method used in India. Must learn the trick from you. If one can make them at home, it is always healthier and cheaper. Well done !

  3. Mummum,
    No-ho, Bol (DH) didn’t teach me.
    The link to the recipe is in the entry. The trick to keep them soft is to not overwork the dough and to let it rest for ten minutes here, twenty minutes there.
    Yesterday we at the last tortillas I had bought at WF and frozen, and now we’re done with that. Feels good!

  4. thanks.found the recipe. in our kind of chapaties, we don’t add baking soda, oil and is simply whole wheat flour [ ataa] and warm water. kneading it well and puffing it up on direct flame are the two difficult tasks involved. I will give your recipe a try with the whole wheat flour we get here.

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