When the panic and requisite quarantines first set in, I made a public offer to send small portions of sourdough starter through the mail, and received over 400 requests in 24 hours. What can we glean from this? Besides that, suddenly, gluten is not the threat.Supply chains are fracturing, markets and their commodities are no longer viable. Paths have become small and dense. As during previous eras of economic and social turmoil, heads are turning towards bread as both sustenance and a signifier of the state of things. Localized skills and resources have never been as necessary as in the current moment, but our relationship to non-commodity goods and their production is estranged and rusted-out. I’ll play whatever small part I can to assist in that restructuring. Bread making, more than ever, is showing itself as a source of emotional and physical fortification. Sourdough is an even further enhancement of the form, opening up nutritional stores and digestibility, extending shelf life, and teaching us the value in long, still breaths and stretching time, not out of want but out of need. I’ll be sharing as many clear and accessible recipes as I can in the coming weeks, written to encourage use by first time or novice bakers. They’ll live here and on my Instagram. Many bakers (businesses and individuals alike) are still working wherever they’re able, even as commodity grain supplies are delayed and/or cut off. People are baking from their homes, bakeries are producing and delivering bread through limited but insistent streams, occasionally for donation or at a discount, and mills are milling and shipping. Here is a growing list of active resources like these. Here is a form to submit others you know of.
Please contact me if you’d like some sourdough starter, as the offer still stands. If you’ve already recieved some, let me know if you share it elsewhere. I’ll try to map the evolution and spread of this particular living culture. We've become acutely aware of our ability to pass things between us, despite our places in an alienating and isolating world. Spores making their way across a population can look like solidarity and sustenance, too, not just fear and sickness.