So what’s with the name? A starter, or a sourdough starter, is an ingredient used in the baking of some breads (the sourdough ones). It is the component that adds sourness to sourdoughs. It’s made of flour, water and natural yeasts it gathers from the air around it (invisible yeasts). A liquid starter is more liquidy than a stiff starter – it contains more water. It’s a living thing kept alive by care and feeding, like a little, gooey baby. I have killed some starters in my life, kept some alive, brought some back from the brink of death, and started some unsuccessfully. I could draw some parallels between caring for a starer and caring for a baby but I’ll save that for a post. Starters are temperamental yet resilient. I kind of relate to them. The starter I have right now is named Charlie. He lives in a glass, hinged-lid jar on my kitchen counter. He’s doing just fine, for now, like me. I should probably feed him, and myself. We eat basically the same things – flour + water.
So what’s with the baking? Well, I consider myself a baker. At times in my life I have even been paid to bake, like it was my job (What?!) When it is my job I like it less. When it’s not I like it more, because discontentment is a sticky companion. I still bake on my own sometimes, and some days I think I might actually be pretty good at it. Other days I never want to do it again. I want to scrape the Kitchen Aid stand mixer tattoo off my arm, throw all of my baking tools, utensils, and equipment away, pretend I never went to culinary school, develop a gluten allergy and play dumb when people use terms like autolyse, proof and knead. I want to start over and become a banker, because 75% of the time when I say I am a baker, people hear “banker” and I’m tired of disappointing them. Baking and I have an complicated, but not uncommon, relationship. I have love-hate relationships with most things in my life, including myself.
So who am I? I’m a 33 year old female who regularly -actively and passively- lies about her age to the point of forgetting her actual age. I am in disbelief that I have existed for 33 years and, considering I have a very poor memory and don’t remember most of those alleged 33 years, am suspicious that I am not actually 33. I don’t have the means to prove this yet but I am working on it (I’m not). I have a strange relationship with reality and life as I know it because I can’t believe that this is it. I often have “This is Your Life”-type moments of shock when I remember I am a person. I am a human being, an adult one. And I’m living and this is indeed life. My life. I am not in disbelief because because it’s spectacular, amazing and so much more than I could have ever hoped for (“pinch me, is this a dream?!”) but almost the opposite. I can’t believe this is life. This is it? What did I miss? I still sometimes think my life hasn’t started yet, but it has. I keep forgetting I’m living but I better hurry the fuck up because I won’t last forever. I better get started.