Thursday, March 03, 2005


I'm a cheechako merely nurturing a sourdough.

I look forward to being the sourdough that gets to nurture a cheechako - one of those "pay it forward" ways, I suppose, for showing my immense gratitude to all the Alaskans that help me settle into the life up here.

In any event, my actual sourdough is going to be three weeks old tomorrow. It's bubbling away in a porcelain bowl on top of my fridge. It's quite aromatic. And hungry. I read that feeding it too much sugar makes it rubbery, which would be bad. But it is so much fun to see it respond, that I can admit to perhaps being indulgent with it.

Three weeks is when, according to Ruth Allman, a sourdough can first be considered a sourdough. Of course, she mentions those that believe it takes 10 years, maybe even 50 years, perhaps 3 generations, to really achieve that status. But she wrote that in the pioneer days. Nowdays, there's more pioneering about than most other places I've lived, but there's a lot of Outside influence too. So I'm going to start considering it a sourdough tomorrow night at 9 p.m.

J. will be in town for the momentous development. He's been coaching Kodiak's highschool mocktrial team, and the competition is this weekend here in Anchorage. I'm judging. It doesn't matter that I will probably only get to see him under the chaperonage of a gaggle of highschoolers who are really most excited about the fact that their hotel is across a street from Applebees. It doesn't matter that I'll probably end up spending a significant portion of my weekend at Applebees, even though I do officially boycott that place and for the sake of decorum will be forced to refrain from my usual pontifications about the horrors of consumer spending at places that drain the community's resources with automatic cash-sweeps to out-of-state conglomerates. I'm simply so excited to see him.

I think what most excites me is that we'll both me doing interesting things, not just on the same landmass, but in the same building. Like a real couple. Doing community things, separately, but together. That there will be looks across a room, or simple waves, or maybe (tartacious me) a wink. I don't know - I guess there will lots of those humble simple moments of relationship that one doesn't ordinarily get to enjoy when the relationship is long-distance.

We're staying at a hotel, because it didn't seem....well, it just seemed inappropriate to drag him away from the reason that he's in town. So we're staying there and I can't really make him the sourdough hotcakes on Sunday morning that I thought would be fun. Instead, I'm going to bake a bunch of sourdough rolls that he can take back, frozen, to Kodiak.

Here's the recipe for sourdough starter:

Put a bunch of Alaskan red potatoes into a big pot of water. Boil and boil until they are so done that the skins are falling off. Let cool. Remove the skins from the potatoes, then mash up the skinless potatoes with the cooking water. There should be at least 3 cups of this potatoe water. The thicker the better. And clumps aren't really a problem, if you're willing to wait for the sourdough to thicken. One of the treats of sourdough seems to be that it works out any lumps itself. Put 3 cups of thick potato water into your sourdough bowl. (Use the leftover to thicken a soup.) Add 2 cups of flour and two big spoons of sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon. Cover with a towel Put in a warm place. It can be used in 3 days. Or it can be fed at the third day with a bit more sugar and some flour, and then used later.


Post a Comment

<< Home