|Our new mystery starter.|
Now, this is not a trifle concern. We have not eaten any sourdough bread since leaving the U.S.—six-and-a-half months ago. This despite visiting a few bakeries run by expats here in Mexico and buying their tasty looking, overpriced loaves stuck with little hand-printed, chichi sourdough labels. Lesson: A sourdough label does not a sourdough bread make. And shame on us, because:“I don’t smell any sourdough, do you?”
“Nope.”And we buy it anyway, every time, hoping against hope that maybe the tangy, distinctive, glorious, characteristic scent promised by the label, is simply trapped beneath that beautiful, crackled crust.
“Nope, I don’t taste any sourdough.”“Me neither.”
Hanging off La Loupiote’s transom in our dinghy, we listened to Franck and Delphine tell us the story of this starter, of how a young European bread maker spotted the boat Bread, of how she patiently tutored the German owner in the fine art of bread making after learning Bread was a misnomer, that the German couldn’t bake a loaf to save his life. About how the German sailor nurtured and propagated the starter she left him, about how he then shared that starter with others on his trip around the world, 20 years ago. About how those sailors followed suit. About how the La Loupiote crew tried recently to share this same starter with a fellow Frenchman in Alaska, only to learn he already used the same starter in his galley. About how this sourdough starter…That’s where Windy and I can’t reconcile: she never heard the word sourdough, I did. You see, it was dark. We were in our dinghy filled with groceries. We were hanging off the transom of La Loupiote, clutching our gift, listening to the story. The girls were boisterous (yeah, that’s the word), it was hard to hear. And Franck and Delphine are French…their English is very good, but not perfect, and their accents strong.
We don’t know whether our well-travelled starter will yield sourdough bread or just really good French bread. La Loupiote sailed away early the next morning, up into the sea, out of VHF range and temporarily without access to email. But we will know soon and learning the answer promises to taste very good indeed.--MR
|We enjoy the Ballandra anchorage, especially when we have it all to ourselves.|