A thing I’ve come to appreciate enormously about our culture here in Sonoma County is the tendency to gratitude for our blessings, gratitude for all those whose work helps us, gratitude as an approach to life that helps us all remain healthy and live together in greater harmony. It’s a thing amply demonstrated every time another blasted fire rampages through our hills and reaches our streets. It’s a thing people have also found time to demonstrate related to covid, as you’ll note if you read carefully the photo with multiple signs, below. Happy day on which we Americans are meant to appreciate our many blessings, which include, one must acknowledge, gaining control of a large and fruitful continent-sized territory to the great detriment of that territory’s prior human occupants, who descendants still live among and around us, often ignored by the general culture at large and certainly dismissed far too readily in the “histories” we tell ourselves. Peace, health, gratitude and opportunity.
And since I’m still working through a backlog of photos from recent months, while getting out for hikes and rides often enough that I’m amassing more photos of this beautiful world at a faster pace than my own posting speed…plus, since here in the US it’s the holiday we dedicate to eating LOTS and LOTS of food (tribute to that bountiful stolen continent I mentioned above?), I’m going ahead and posting some of my food photos to get your appetite juices flowing. Gratitude for the chance to break bread with friends, and a hope that more of our human family will experience the same opportunity in peace and good health: a fitting aspiration for today.
Knowing I needed things to keep me busy after the election, I had put up a few sourdough sponges on Tuesday morning, which yesterday became eight of the twelve loaves you see above. Somehow, the demands of my little colony of wild yeast, the need to knead the dough and encourage the yeasties to go forth and multiply in the new flour I’d fed them, was a good antidote to obsessively watching vote-count updates. Furthermore, it’s clear we Americans around the nation need to try to find a few things that we can actually agree on. To the classics of apple pie and baseball, might I suggest adding bread and beauty (beauty = yesterday’s post)? (With apologies to any readers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance…if you’re just anti-carb, well, try one of the round zucchini loaves & let me know…) The little yellow tea loaves are semolina-cranberry quick breads; the rounded zucchini loaves are sourdough base with a commercial-yeast boost, and the multi-grain are the first of my sourdough loaves that pleasantly surprised me with their robust rise, even before the oven boost. Arise, wild yeast, and teach us Americans a thing or two about making the best of mucky circumstances… 🙂 I began this little colony of yeast (also known as a sourdough starter) shortly after returning from Bangladesh – before then, I’d been baking since at least the Ford presidency, but always with commercial yeast and their fairly-straightforward kneading & rising realities. Learning the needs of my colony of wild yeast is a welcome combination of biology experiment, lesson in patience, and introduction to new mysteries. May we all find fruitful and healthy distractions when needed. 🙂