On Sourdough, and the process, and caring

img_5198I remember when Eric Sandy first wrote about creating a sourdough starter; it inspired me to start my own.  Now, I’m in the middle of my third starter – I killed the first one by traveling around the world, and, upon moving to Edinburgh, created another, only to dump it down the drain a few weeks later.  At the time, it seemed like too much work just for a single pizza once a weekend.

But it isn’t too much work, really – it isn’t too much work at all.  It takes five minutes a week, at the very most, to keep it alive, and sourdough tastes SO MUCH BETTER than the store-bought dry yeast I use for pizza or bread on my cheat days.  Plus, I have friends visiting in a couple of weekends, and then Alice’s parents are visiting the weekend after, and I’d love to be able to bake delicious bread for them.  So once more unto the breach, this time with organic Scottish flour from Mungoswells, and I’m VERY excited.  (Join me by following this easy recipe from The Kitchn.)

It also gets into something my classmate Simon said today.  He mentioned that he was using a safety razor to shave, and that he loved the process and thought he had to put into it in order to get his face smooth – preparing the brush, creating a lather, stretching his skin.  Making the process of shaving more difficult seemed to make him pay closer attention to everything he was doing, including paying closer attention to the code that he was writing, to the process of planning his projects, to the implementation and execution of every method.  Caring about one thing had an unintended carry-over effect into other areas throughout his life.  I guess I hope that caring about the process of making bread – of maintaining a living starter – will transfer over into how I pay attention to code, and the process of learning.  And maybe it will flow backwards: how I code will change how I care for the starter, or how I strop my straight razor, or polish my cowboy boots, or take care of the leather on my 1939 French postal worker satchel.

After all, if “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything, I want to start paying attention to the little things AND the big things.


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