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    Faster is Better {Part II}

    October 28, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Before I completely leave this little fixation on faster is better, I thought it might be important to add that faster is better is, to some extent, based on a false premise. This premise is that it is the having of extra time that makes one free.

    I cannot think of any instance in which I want something done faster {or for me so I can avoid the task entirely} that is not connected to a desire to attain extra time that I can then spend on something I find to be more enjoyable.

    This is not necessarily bad, but I must be honest with myself here. Many times faster is better means that there is something {or someone} else performing the process that gets me to the desired end result.

    Not to obsess with food, but it is such an easy depiction of this idea. We love homemade bread around here. I mainly bake quickbreads, though occasionally I do bake a nice yeast loaf. Many times, I have been tempted to get a bread machine. There is nothing inherently wrong with owning a bread machine. However, I have not come close to mastering the art of breadmaking, especially when it comes to yeast loaves. I could buy a bread machine, and never buy grocery store bread again. But I wouldn’t know how to make bread. I would have simply shifted my reliance on the grocery store to being reliance on the bread machine.

    One of the cultural assumptions mentioned by Rahime during our brainstorming session was that electricity is an actual necessity. I am here to say that it is a need…as long as people like me are ignorant of how to do so many things. And it is the speed with which I desire to attain the ends {in this case bread} that leads me to remain ignorant.

    Any time one avoids learning to do something oneself, one is actually becoming less free because one is confined by one’s own ignorance. One need only look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to see that the simple ignorances accepted in our culture {concerning, for instance, survival skills} can have terrible consequences if a natural disaster occurs.

    Independence cannot be attained with great speed because it is bought by the sweat of the brow and the work of the hands. In a culture that frowns upon hard work, this is hard to wrap one’s mind around, and yet this truth stands {as all truth must}. Faster may at times be better, but overwhelmingly it leads to slavery, either to the worker who does the job in one’s place, or the technology that leads one to remain ignorant of how the desired end result is actually attained.


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  • Reply Brandy October 30, 2006 at 10:57 pm


    Thank you so much for the book suggestion! I have toyed around with buying a book, but I am always afraid that I will regret it–that it won’t really help me, and I will have wasted good money. Your book sounds great, though–especially the step-by-step photos you mentioned.

    The first time I made yeast bread, all I had was a paragraph description of what it was supposed to look like after kneading…and it didn’t really work out like that! The next time around was a bit better, but it would have been nice to have a photo! 🙂

  • Reply Kimbrah October 30, 2006 at 9:58 pm


    I really have been enjoying the Faster is Better posts. I talked to Eddie about it over the weekend and he liked your ideas as well. I totally agree about the bread machine thing. I could never put my finger on what bugged me about ever getting one of my own, but you hit the nail right on the head. I have been making the bread for our family for the past 3 weeks and it has felt so good! I have actually been making a lot of our food from scratch and there is such a sense of accomplishment when all is said and done.

    If you are truly interested in good breadmaking skills, I would recommend “The Tassajara Bread Book” by Edward Espe Brown, published by Shambhala Publications, Inc. It is quite New-Agey, but the recipes are awesome and they all make about 4 loaves per recipe. I take the extra and freeze it or sell to my friends who want fresh bread. The recipes are very wholesome and they have step by step pictures and instructions on what to do.

    Or we could just get together sometime and make bread together and you can look at my copy!

    I look forward to reading future posts in this series.

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