Bread receives its strength through tension, what bakers call the plastic and elastic.
When the dry, parched dust of flour is baptized in a flood of water, it’s brought back to life in order to be slowly transformed. As water unravels wheat’s proteins and starch, the firm but gentle hands of a baker guide it into shape.
Stretch and fold and stretch and fold.
From dust, to soup, to stiff.
As gluten interlocks it lends structure and shape, until the dough softens, delights in following the guidance of the baker’s knowing hands.
Yeast feasts on wheat’s sweet sugars, filling it with the breath of life.
Breath captured in the tension of plastic and elastic, growing and growing while maintaining shape, before offering itself to the oven’s flame.
Breath sacrificed to become bread, and bring life to one another.
This blog is about tension.
The tension of living in the already but not yet, of being generously orthodox. Of fasting and feasting, chasing hope and joy within despair. Of following a God that is both three and one.
The tension of being a part of a faith that makes itself known through the tactile, the taste of bread.
My name is Kendall Vanderslice – yes, before you ask, that is my true name. It’s just by chance (or the humor of God) that I ended up in a field so fitting.
I’m a baker and writer, whose best thinking occurs as I work dough between my hands; I scribble down thoughts on pieces of parchment dusted in flour, until I can parse them out later before my keyboard.
I studied anthropology at Wheaton College in Illinois, where I began engaging questions of food and faith, before earning my master’s in gastronomy from Boston University. While at BU, I completed a thesis project studying a dinner church.
Now, I work as the head baker at Simple Church, running a community supported bread program (what we call a CSB) and teaching youth through the Grafton Job Corps, and I do some freelance writing and recipe development on the side.
Though my faith has developed through the influence of many different denominations, I’ve found a home in Anglicanism. I find great safety and risk and beauty in a tradition that holds fast to the mystery of faith. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. You’ll find evidence of my love for the interplay of the catholic, charismatic, and evangelical littered throughout my writing – I hope you’ll come to find these creeds and traditions dynamic and captivating too.
This blog is a resource to bring together the many different voices thinking critically about the intersection of food, faith, and culture. It engages these voices from a breadth of perspectives and questions what this means for Christians, for Eucharistic living.
From recipes and book reviews, to essays on the life of faith, I ask you to join me as I explore the many facets of food in hopes of heralding a world that looks ever more like the renewed earth for which we as Christians long.