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Bread Might Make Us Fat, But You Can Still Long For A Loaf

ARUN RATH, HOST:

A recent study found new benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet. In "Annals Of Internal Medicine," researchers wrote that cutting out carbs may be better than a low-fat diet for people hoping to lose weight. As stories about food so often do, this got writer Dana Goodyear thinking about a childhood memory.

DANA GOODYEAR: I was a sneaky kid - sneaky and hungry. When I was eight, we moved from Cleveland to London. One afternoon, my mother sent me to a bakery on the busy main road to buy a loaf of bread. It was 1984, when people still did that kind of thing. She was too trusting.

Sweet-faced, I paid for the bread and brought it home - warm bundle in my arms. The kitchen was unoccupied. I eyed the loaf. Have I mentioned I was hungry? I slipped it from its brown wax paper sleeve and with one pudgy finger bore a small hole in the underbelly. Just a taste, I thought.

But the bread was so warm, so divine. As the minutes passed, I dug out every last bit of crumb, leaving the crust like a cast-off cocoon. Eventually, my mother cut into the trick loaf. She's a lifelong baker, so she was baffled and furious with the bakery. She had me take the loaf back and demand a replacement. Sweet-faced, I did.

Dietary experts have long told us that bread will make us fat. And now researchers have confirmed the inkling with data. Probably we should just give it up. But there's got to be an exception for truly delicious loaf. The kind of warm, fresh bread you'd risk being grounded for.

A few years ago, I discovered "Tartine Bread." It's a how-to book by Chad Robertson. He's the wild yeast wrangler at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. For me, it is a looking book, not a cooking book, since there are no less than six significant and time-consuming steps to take before the bake.

But the last time I was in San Francisco, I stopped at Tartine on the way to the airport and brought a warm loaf home on my lap. I delivered it triumphantly to my children waiting for me in the kitchen. I feel no guilt in saying it was not intact.

RATH: The book is "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson. It was recommended by Dana Goodyear. Her latest book is "Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, And The Making of a New American Food Culture." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.