I owe some of my friends an apology. They have warned me that with the way that things have been going, I shouldn’t be surprised if people end up in bread lines again. I try to argue with them, reasoning that things will not deteriorate so badly, but alas, I must admit that they seem to be correct — sort of.
Much to my surprise, I have seen this happen week after week at the Green Market in Pinecrest. For the last several months people have lined up patiently waiting for their bread. In a time where people fight desperately to claim and gain the status of victim, this is the ultimate irony: The bread is organic sourdough and the people who line up are from the (forgive the pun) upper crust. The cause of all this misery is a young fellow known as Zak the Baker, or Zak Stern, who is an artist of sorts.
There seem to be no bread lines for the privileged that I can recall, but Zak the Baker causes a ruckus among the blessed every Sunday morning at this year-round Farmer’s Market. The line begins religiously before 9:30 a.m. near the caramel corn stand by the jerk chicken vendor and Jamaican ice cream scooper.
One of Zak’s apprentices cuts a loaf, which, immediately after sampling, creates a sort of mysterious instant addiction, especially for those patrons who have visited Europe or who remember a different time in the Americas.
Clearly, Zak is charming the community by offering addictive sourdough breads baked under the cover of darkness in a secret location somewhere west of US1. He is an artisan, but when you witness the lines, you may think he is a magician, shaman or charlatan. Taste the bread though, and you begin to understand.
Zak hypnotizes those who queue up by playing jazz on a little throwback phonograph. The daily offerings — olive and za’ater, cranberry walnut, multigrain and whole wheat — are thoughtfully and carefully wrapped in plain brown paper. Returnees to the line looked hopelessly hooked and spaced out in the moist September steam — give us today our daily bread, they seemed to say.
Zak the Baker’s website <http://zakthebaker. com/> is a thing of beauty. Frankly, the video made by Matt Degreff is medal worthy. With all the (forgive me) cheesy crap that passes us posing as art, these few minutes are aesthetic and inspiring. What you hear and see make you feel, and what you feel makes you want to eat. It defines perfectly what Zak is doing and, it seems, what he is thinking. Please let me in on the longer length documentary, brothers!
If you want go to the Green Market and avoid the bread lines because you somehow have come to feel guilty about the economics in America, which now makes the wealthy have to stand in the sun just to get their favorite staple ingredient, the good news is that Zak is sold out, wrapped up and on the road before your teenage kids wake up.
Zak’s breads are also available at The Daily Bread Pinecrest, Pinecrest Wayside Market, Bottega LaDolce Vita, Perricone’s Marketplace, Michy’s Restaurant, and on Wednesday mornings at the new University of Miami Farmers Market. I would call in advance or get there early though.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org