SASHA GORA, MUNICH
Sasha has been playing many roles in the making of The Bread Exchange book. I met Sasha in Münich for the first time in 2011 when I was having a showroom for Levi’s Vintage. I had been baking Bread and Sasha brought me goodies from an internship in India in exchange. We kept contact and Sasha became a friend and someones who’s advice I take very serious. She has been one of the people keen on helping out with tips and thoughts throughout the Bread Exchange journey. I knew I wanted her to be part of this book and I asked her if she liked to trade a recipe for the winter chapter in Bavaria. Sasha ended up making two. She also ended up joining me and my mother to Fischbachau where she helped out at the shot of the Bavarian story.
It could have ended here, but it didn’t. Being canadian, I asked Sasha if you could read some of my chapters before sending them to my publisher. Sasha did more than just proof read my texts, she was a great help on editing my text and give helpful advices. Her eyes and taste is sharp. I do not know what path this lady will be taking, but whatever it is I am sure you will be hearing of her in the future.
Q/A WITH SASHA
M: Where are you from and what do you love the most about this place?
S: I’m from Toronto, Canada. Half of Torontonians weren’t born in Canada, which means that I grew up surrounded by amazing cultural diversity and an even more amazing variety of food. Our neighbourhood (where my Dad still lives) borders Greektown, East Chinatown (yes, Toronto has more than one) and Little India. My afternoon snacks included Greek honey balls, red bean steamed buns and Indian style grilled corn. I love Toronto as it taught me to be a curious eater and respectful person, but it also taught me how to curse at drivers that cut me off when biking.
M: How do you like to eat your bread?
S: As much as I love bread, I really love toast: however, no matter if is toasted or freshly baked, I like my bread best when it is well-buttered and topped with a drizzle of honey or thinly sliced aged Cheddar (you can take the gal out of Canada, but you can’t take Canada out of the gal).
M: What is it about TBE that interests you and lead you contribute to the Bavarian story?
S: The Bread Exchange combines storytelling with food and since these are two of my favourite things, I was very excited about the book. The project makes you think creatively about value, and about what and how we share. When you can no longer pay in money, you have to be imaginative about what you have to offer, what you know well or have too much of. I love that the Bread Exchange Book captures this spirit and invites the spontaneity that comes from inviting strangers to trade with you. Also, as a Canadian, having a chance to wear my Dirndl never gets old, which made contributing to the Bavarian story all that much more fun.
M: What prompted you to leave Canada?
S: As a teenager I picked up the travel bug, which quickly turned into an obsession with Europe and, like any good romantic, with all things French. With a little teenage rebellion added to that equation, I left Canada when I was 18 to become an au pair in France. What was once a conscious decision to travel and to move from city to city and from country to country, then just became a habit. Luckily my studies in art history and my work in museums and contemporary art keep giving me excuses to live and to work in different countries.
M: What is Heimat?
S: Heimat, for me, is less of a geographical place and more of a feeling. My family has always been spread out across North America, which means that no one city is home. Luckily for me, it means that I can find Heimat almost anywhere where the faces are familiar and the meals are long.
M: How and where do you relax?
S: Despite the hot temperatures and sharp knives, I often relax when cooking. There is something about the tedious nature of chopping, kneading and stirring that I find extremely meditative. Some people meditate and I just stir polenta for half an hour. When I cook, I catch up on podcasts, sing out of tune and generally let me hair down (hoping that none of it gets into the food, of course). Also, a day out in the Alps is always good for the soul.
M: If you could teach a group of people one thing, what would it be?
S: To make salad dressing! Seriously, nothing is easier and yet there are still so many freaky bottles of the stuff for sale. Growing up in North America, I was definitely traumatized by extra-large bottles of Ranch salad dressing. Not even the multiculturalism of Toronto could save me from Kraft “French” dressing.