Yutaka Taniyama was a Japanese mathematician who posited a conjecture that eventually helped solve Fermat's last theorem. He committed suicide in 1958, at the age of 31. But in this, the only image available of him online, he looks a lot like any other young man in a dark suit, skinny tie, and plastic framed glasses.
[There are no shortage of gift guides admonishing you to buy this or that for your loved ones and friends. Some are better than others, by which I mean they simply demonstrate more of what I'll call good taste. Others are just aimless shit. The posts marked Gift Guide here will focus less on things you can buy someone, and more on things people might actually want from you.]
Baking bread is easy. I'm not trying to be one of "those guys" who does something and then claims to the world it takes no effort at all, but, on a spectrum between buying a box of chocolates and reassembling someone's car engine, baking bread falls firmly near the former. This is especially true if you're using Jim Lahey's no knead method.
You will need a dutch oven. You might be saying already, I don't have a dutch oven and never will. This is a mistake. A dutch oven is one of those things that after you buy it you have no idea how you lived without it. If you don't cook, start cooking. Le Creuset is the one everyone lusts after, but you can get a perfectly fine one from Lodge for around $80.
3 cups baking flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon active dry instant yeast
1 and 1/3 cup of cool water
cornmeal for dusting (very optional)
In a medium bowl (which means larger than something for cereal, but smaller than a German Shepherd), mix together the bread flour, salt, and yeast. Don't try and make this without bread flour. Then, add the water and using your hands or a wooden spoon or basically anything that won't shatter, mix until you have a sticky, wettish dough. All of the flour should be incorporated, so add a little more water to make sure the dough is sticky.
Cover with plastic wrap and store, away from direct sunlight, at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
Lightly cover a work surface with flour and dump dough onto it. Resist the urge to add more flour. Take the dough from the edges and pull over to the centre, like your wrapping the dough with the dough. Do this until you have a roundish shape. Flour a tea towel (not a hand towel) and place the dough onto the tea towel, seams down, and cover. Let it rest another one to two hours, until you can stick your finger in it and it doesn't spring back.
Put your dutch oven into the oven and heat it to 475°F. Tear a piece of parchment paper roughly the width of your dough. Place dough on parchment, seams up. (Basically flip the dough from the towel to the parchment. This will be important in 3...2...1...) After 30 minutes, CAREFULLY remove the dutch oven and, using the parchment, place your dough inside it. Dust with cornmeal. Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes. CAREFULLY remove the lid from the dutch oven and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how brown you like your bread.
Remove from dutch oven to cool on wire rack. Let it cool at least an hour. Whatever you do, don't just go tearing into it and slathering butter all over like a maniac, especially if this is supposed to be a gift. When cool, place in a nice paper bag. PRO TIP: tie a piece of twine around the bag. I don't know why, but this looks great.
The Plain Musette is, as the name suggests, a basic bag that brings to mind Antoine de Saint-Exupery's definition of perfection as being when there is nothing left to take away. The angle of the strap allows the bag to sit against your side or back without the need for extra hardware; the bucket nature of the body means you can stuff it as full as you want without needing to consider a top flap (although their flap musette looks lovely as well).
It's also the perfect bag for running errands on your bike, which makes sense as it's based on this.
I interviewed Leslie and Tom of Archival Clothing in June - hopefully I'll have that up before Fall.
The relevant information can be found here. All you need to know is this is the perfect way to start Monday. Happy Monday to all of you.
I first came across Tomokawa on The Takeaway Shows.
Now Vincent Moon has directed a documentary.
I can't find any mention of it, but apparently the WSJ has started publishing a fashion magazine. I went to their website and found no magazine, but some interesting content nonetheless. I wish The Economist or even The New Yorker would take a stab at putting a style magazine out.
A little too New York Times to be truly original, but a step above the usual suspects. Here, Thom Browne speaks pure truth:
Sometimes it’s embarrassing when you see couples out and the girl has clearly taken so much time over her appearance and the guy just looks bad. And the girls don’t seem to mind! Men get lazy. It’s important for a guy to figure out what works for him and then stick with it. Most men can’t steer themselves when it comes to style. They need a female to guide them. That’s a fact.Amen brother. Amen.