Flour Power: NatGeo Docuseries Is A 'Bread' Winner

Faced with the choice of watching and writing on a new docuseries about a brutal murder in the headlines 30 years ago, or a docuseries about bread and the happy people who bake it, which would you choose?

For me, the choice was easy: Bread. I happen to like bread, and so does the whole world. The history of a famous murder? Not so much.

In the new, three-part NatGeo docuseries “World Eats Bread,” nary a drop of blood is spilled, nor are discouraging words uttered. 

Instead, we meet bread bakers from diverse backgrounds who share their baking backstories and provide proof of their passion for le bon pain.

The three episodes, airing on three consecutive Sunday nights starting this weekend, travel internationally to three locales to shine a spotlight on the breads they are known for -- Episode One: “Sourdough in San Francisco”; Episode Two: “Ramadan Pide in Turkey”; and Episode Three: “Tortilla in Guatemala.” Wherever the show takes us, when the dough hits the pan, it’s all good. 



In the San Francisco episode that the TV Blog previewed on Wednesday, just about all the bakers featured in the show started in their home kitchens after being drawn to the baking of bread for a variety of reasons.

One was the pandemic, during which bread baking spread throughout the land, with a handful of home bakers turning their newfound skill into baking businesses.

One man took up baking during the lockdown and eventually had bread dough proofing in pans covering just about every surface in his home. 

At that point, it dawned on his wife that perhaps he should go and rent a space. And his San Francisco bakery, Rize Up was born.

The bakers reveal their love of what they do in various ways. One San Francisco baker, who also started in his home kitchen and now delivers his prized sourdough loaves by bicycle every day, has named his favorite yeasts.

This is not uncommon among passionate bread bakers, says the man, whose own favorites include Bread Pitt, Queen LaYeasta and, well, just Steve.

To my knowledge, no one has yet invented a Smell-O-Vision capability for TV shows, but if there was such a thing, this show would really have something extra. But the visuals alone are enough to stir up acute cravings for sourdough.

The other, rejected choice for this TV Blog, sight unseen, was “The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson,” a “two-night event” on Lifetime that starts Saturday. 

Perhaps this new, two-part documentary on the O.J. Simpson case that focuses on Nicole more than her football star husband is a great addition to the thousands of hours TV has already expended to retell this story again and again. Or maybe not.

All I know is, “World Eats Bread” is a superlative documentary series. Happy people and warm bread -- what more could anyone want?

“World Eats Bread” premieres on Sunday, June 2, at 10 p.m. Eastern on National Geographic, Hulu and Disney+.

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