Sourdough bread: the perfect demonstration that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. A staple for billions of people across the world, bread is in fact a complex product that entails a wealth of knowledge in a 3-ingredient recipe.
Why accept a piece of (matcha) cake, when you can have (both the cake and) the recipe? When I started giving away my sourdough starter, last winter, I didn’t expect it to become such a surprising way to connect with people of all paths of life. In weeks, I saw my Elvira being kneaded into beautiful breads of all shapes and types by the hands of many friendly strangers. One of those pairs of hands was Yuki’s.
I hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing as Italian cuisine… Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but let me clarify with a recipe that will make ripples in the fabric of space-time: piconi ascolani, brought to you by theoretical physicist Giuseppe D’Ambrosi (with a gravitational waves topping).
I have mentioned in a previous post how I picked up sourdough baking last spring. What defines sourdough baking and makes it critically different to any other cooking specialty is that you don’t just embark on its practice, you rather start a partnership with its material object and its very real sticky substance. It’s not an abstract hobby and it comes with all the responsibility of adopting a living being (mono-cellular as is) that needs to be looked after. You think that buying a yearly subscription to your local gym will feel binding enough to actually have you going to pilates at least a couple of times per week, but knowing that your instructor won’t starve to death if you desert your class will probably entitle you to keep watching tv-series instead. Try ignoring your cat when it’s hungry, on the other hand, and let me know what really gets you off your couch.
I am completely fond of etymology and the way one word or expression can condense centuries of history, stories and anecdotes within a bunch of syllables. Take the Italian expression pane e companatico, for instance. While it is quite easy to work out that ‘pane’ means bread, ‘companatico’ is slightly more challenging to decipher.