There’s no doubt that King’s Roost is a way of life for the owner, Roe Sie. The moment you walk in and listen to him kick around the concept of Urban Homesteading, which is the idea behind King’s Roost, it’s clear he’s done the research, and walks the walk. His rhetoric is agile, his facts are handy, and according to him, all you need to do is consider the precepts, and try it. Spend a moment and consider the making of bread, or a new approach to your chicken coop. Taste the difference between acquaponic tilapia and the tilapia you’ll find at Gelson’s. The former is a rich, fatty, full and fleshy taste that’s engorged with Omega 3 oils, while the Tilapia one might buy at Gelson’s will be lean, tasteless, and flakey. The list goes on — candles, honey, essential oils, pickles, beer, and more.
The idea – as Roe describes it – was to bring all these old skills that Grandma knew how to do, like gardening, farming, and household staples, and then offer a space where people, who might not have the space or set up, could do that.
For example, grinding your own wheat. We grind coffee, right? Roe would like to see hand- cranked grain mills become ubiquitous as coffee grinders. Plus, he explains an advantage, you can only grind one thing with a coffee grinder. But with a proper mill you can make rice flour, polenta, tortillas, corn bread, grits, and he emphatically promises that it is, “ridiculously good.”
I am listening.
To write something that Roe speaks about is difficult, because he’s fast! And bright, and passionate, and crammed with knowledge on the subject of sustainable farm-raised food. He has a strong argument for un-processed verses processed food, and an ability to break it down. For example flour, the all purpose kind of flour you buy in a grocery store. With that you get one of two choices, either the flour is whole grain, which is what we think of as healthy, but the fats inside a wheat berry go rancid and become bitter. Therefore, you do get whole grain — but it’s spoiled. The other option is to buy highly refined flour, but it has the bran and the wheat germ removed, because that interferes with bread rising and because (again) the fats go rancid.
“The flour we all think of as normal flour,” he explained, “is actually just the bleached endosperm (think of the whites of an egg) re-enriched with just a few vitamins to qualify it as food.” In other words: destoyed and not flour, but the “egg whites” of flour. When he makes bread, he doesn’t sift the flour, or add sugars, or oils, or egg. His bread is nothing but whole meal flour, salt, and water. For this you can’t use store bought yeast, because it’s made to work with refined flour. He uses a natural starter, the only thing that goes with a natural bread – of course.
In case you’re wondering why would anyone add oils, sugars, or eggs, it’s because they need to replace the flavor that’s lost in the refining process. I paused for a minute to consider the depths of this conspiracy. “Keep in mind,” Roe adds on, “ when you take out wheat germ, you don’t just take out thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, you take out like a hundred different macro and micro nutrients, and they only put three back in.” To put it into perspective he explained it this way.
“What we’re eating is basically sand with a vitamin pill mixed into it.”
Cue: The Screeeching sound.
So what about the Gluten Free fad? Is it a fad, or a certified response?
“The bread products most of us eat are made almost entirely of the starchy and glutinous components of wheat, with “vital” wheat gluten and sugars added in on top of that.” Roe said. “ I think if any one or two ingredients become too much of your diet, your body will tell you. Just like drinking too much high fructose corn syrup could make you sick, but that wouldn’t mean that corn on the cob is bad for you.” For the record he does eat bread in restaurants, because he, “won’t knock great bakers.” None the less, I get the sense that his family thrives on cooking and eating this way, and he confirms that they do.
When did food becomes a peg board of additives, and so chemistry ridden? The answer to this question seems to boil down to commerce, convenience, and the lack of a palate. If you give a dog unlimited access to nutritional food, the dog will eat only as much as he (literally) needs, and no more. On the other side of that is the idea that if you eat food that’s been leached and processed your body tends to eat more in search of what it feels it needs. Roe explained that deleting nutrition is also endemic, “ because we’re depleting the land the food’s getting less nutritious.”
“A cup of spinach today has less nutrition than a cup of spinach forty years ago,” and he confirms that – yes – this is hypothetical, because we don’t have forty-year old spinach to prove that, but it does make sense when you look at the facts. “Because we’re depleting the land — the food’s getting less nutritious.”
So it might take a little research, some curation, and a decision to get your food back to the more nutritional basics, but Roe Sie has taken care of that by supplying everything but transportation to the store. King’s Roost is an impeccable execution of a long lost concept, all you have to do is walk in. Buy a grain mill! Start with the Staff of Life. Start with the Bread.
3732 Sunset Blvd. Open: Tuesday – Friday 12-7 | Saturday – Sunday 12-5 |