I am a big fan of Stuart Mclean and The Vinyl Cafe. I love Stuart’s gift for storytelling, the way he uses his natural folksiness and love of the small moment to tell a story that we feel we have already lived ourselves. His appreciation of Canada, of small towns, and most importantly humour. In some of my blogs you can hear my tone mimic his – but Stuart’s voice is uniquely his own.
I’ve had the great pleasure during this early Spring/Summer of walking my city of Vancouver listening to his podcasts from CBC radio. Some are new, and I love hearing Stuart’s poignant and stirring thoughts on what makes a city, a town and a country. His stories recall home to me, and growing up in a small town that I now better appreciate what it gave me.
Recently, I listened to an old story of his, “The Sourdough Starter”, which is a funny and heartfelt story about how uncareful earnestness can lead to unintended results. I’d heard it before, but it was good to listen again – like the family lore stories that weave our personal history.
I thought not much more of it.
Several nights later, Emile turned on the third episode of “Cooked” – a show that celebrates food and history of it. And this episode happened about bread and sourdoughs. These two events reminded me of far away days when people dropped in, children played outside, and gifts were simple.
You see, when I was a child, we used to have a sourdough starter in our fridge. It came from a friend – as all sourdough starters did – the gift of time, of sustenance, of company. I don’t remember the exact era that we had this starter in our fridge, but I was young and old enough to consider this: if we needed sourdough starter to make bread, and it came from a friend, and they got it from a friend, how did it start?
My mom, not being too much of a baker, I do not recall was able to give me a satisfactory answer. Which is just as well, because I then I could puzzle over the origin of this starter.
But now in this more complicated, yet sometimes simpler time, Cooked and the internet provided Emile and I the answer. You can make your own, but it takes time, a whole lot of precious time; patience and time.
April 26 Extra-Ordinary: Day Three and our starter bubbles away on our counter collecting wild yeast from the air. Perhaps- when its ready – I will drop by and give some to you.
PS – we used the recipe from “The Kitchn”.