Pain Ordinaire in Boule

Finished teaching the last installment of the Mayo Medical School course Disruptions in Development today, to which Dr. Bostwick and I brought loaves baked with our own bare hands to break and share with the students on today of all days. I then read this poem, shamelessly.

From the IV movement of East Coker in TS Eliots Four Quartets

“The wounded surgeon plies the steel

That questions the distempered part;

Beneath the bleeding hands we feel

The sharp compassion of the healer’s art

Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.


Our only health is the disease

If we obey the dying nurse

Whose constant care is not to please

But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,

And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.


The whole earth is our hospital

Endowed by the ruined millionaire,

Wherein, if we do well, we shall

Die of the absolute paternal care

That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.


The chill ascends from feet to knees,

The fever sings in mental wires.

If to be warmed, then I must freeze

And quake in frigid purgatorial fires

Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.


The dripping blood our only drink,

The bloody flesh our only food:

In spite of which we like to think

That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—

Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.”Image

Pain Ordinaire in Boule (Round)

Adapted from The Village Baker

  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 pks active dry yeast (I used a cup of sourdough starter)

Mix the flour + water. rest 20-30mins.

Mix in everything else ~ 4-5 mins.

Rest first proof: either overnight or (he says 1 1/2 – 2hrs til doubled)

Punch it back and let rise again 30 -45mins.

Divide dough in half and one of the halves in half again so recipe makes two baguettes and one round— roll the dough following the instructions from this video.


Shape each piece into tight balls. rest 15 mins, covered.

Shape the loaves, and leave to rise ~45mins – 1hr till doubled, scored and baked in preheated 450degrees F oven on a baking stone that has been preheated for an hour. 40 – 45 mins for the round (till golden brown and hollow sounding).


And again, because I can’t help myself, from the third movement of East Coker, an indelible image for Good Friday, a dark theater—

“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,

The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed

With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of dark-

                Ness on darkness,

And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant


And the bold imposing façade are all being rolled away—

Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too

                Long between stations

And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence

And you see behind every face the mental emptiness


Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;

Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious

                Of nothing—

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without


For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the


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