The University of Southern California’s president, C. L. Max Nikias, recently addressed the rising cost of education. His defense included the increased market demand that universities function like the city-states of ancient Athens and Rome with infrastructure, housing, dining, myriad services, ethics, technology, independence and, for us, round-the-clock coffee shops. Oh yeah, and curriculum, too.
My first week on staff at USC offered me a modern insight into free-market city-statehood. We have sorbet-stuffed fresh fruit, gourmet dining, grab ‘n’ go, salads dawn-to-dusk, smoothies, grill guys and Wednesday Farmers’ Markets on a central quad. What? No-clock-out coffee AND fresh vegetables? A city-state with local honey, avocados, beets and berries? Further, we have a sourdough bread team, dessert purveyors, jewelers and sunglass vendors. This is my kind of town. And Rustic Loaf is my kind of bread baker. Their motto is “We Love Gluten.” Due respect to the gluten-free out there, but this bread has flavor in both crust and crumb that only a sour, yeasty, gurgling starter can provide, followed by texture that only protein-rich gluten strands holding pockets of air inside a flaming hot oven can create. I, too, love gluten in a well-made loaf in a well-run city. Or state. Or university. Not sure whether I’m going Greek or Roman, but my education has begun. www.therusticloaf.com To make artisan bread at home, start here.