Friday, February 1, 2013

Romance novel: By Bread Alone by author: Sarah-Kate Lynch

A Taste of Sourdough
Esme and Pog: 

     “Esme laughed and her husband let the sound he loved chase the tension and trauma of a long day’s work and worry out of his bones. She poured him some wine and they clinked glasses, each thinking their separate thoughts but both smiling at the shared triumph of making it through another day.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 

The baker’s kiss: 

     “She felt like a fizzy vitamin tablet that had just been added to water. She bubbled. She dissolved. She was desperate for him.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 


     “When you were little, you used to believe everything I said,” Esme heard herself say petulantly.
     "Henry got me a book on bees from the library,” her son answered. “I know stuff for myself now.”
     “Yes, well, I’m right about them not having a word for kidnapping,” Esme cried after his small retreating back…” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 

The garden:

“Esme was summarily regarded as the kinkiest gardener in all of East Anglia. Nothing came out the way she expected it to. Her zucchinis had scandalized Gaga and Jam-jar by all growing in the shape of giant phalluses complete with bullocks that were apparently some sort of fungal parasite. A coachload of Americans had actually stopped to take photos of them and they’d been featured on the local TV news channel.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 

The House of Clouds: 

     “She clinched her buttocks, not because she was thinking of her father-in-law, but because her friend Alice, who was addicted to personal trainers, had told her that combined with climbing the stairs ten times a day, it constituted proper exercise.
     By the time she clattered up the last set of steps…she was puffing and wheezing like an old steam engine and wishing he (Rory) was old enough to know CPR so he could practice it on her.
     And her bum hurt. These were the ramifications of living in a house with seventy-eight internal stairs, but every time Esme looked out the window of the top floor in her nutty tower she remembered why it was all worthwhile.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 

The donkey and the goat: 

     “For God’s sake, don’t give the poor thing to her,” Henry said over Esme’s shoulder to Jam-jar.
     Esme felt a little catch at the back of her throat which she recognized as hurt. “Don’t be silly Henry,” she said as kindly as she could before turning to Jam-jar. “The goat was really not my fault. Apparently they go blind quite often without anything to do with spades.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 

The sourdough:

     “…Those weeks when she had stopped baking he’d been worried, but since her return to sourdough there had definitely been a change, a lift, in her spirits. Without that early-morning ritual, life had been torturous in the House in the Clouds. Without the rhythm of Esme’s breadbaking it had been hard to recognize the place as his own.  Practically every routine they had, from folding the washing to paying the bills to fitting in a quick shag, in the good old days, had been introduced around the various stages in the process, and once Esme abandoned her bread, nothing fell into place anymore.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch

Granny Mac: 

     “I know everything you do,” said Granny Mac. “It’s just that sometimes I know it sooner. I’m good like that.”
     “You don’t think I’m wicked?”
     “Oh don’t flatter yourself. You’re just a girl in the world, Esme, trying to get through life without killing someone or having a nervous breakdown just like the next person.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 


     “You know I’m allergic to the country,” said Alice, standing up to leave as well. “I need dirt and grime and rude people and men with not the right amount of testicles and appalling breath and vulgar tattoos or I just fall apart.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch 

The happily ever after: 

     “You’re going to bake at the bottom of your house and have people come here and buy the bread?”
     “People come here anyway,” Pog pointed out. “To marvel at Esme’s vegetarian protuberances and offer incontinent animals.” By Bread Alone by Sarah-Kate Lynch
Warning: This book is laden with insidious suggestions that one should bake or, at the very least, eat, sourdough bread. If you fall prey to the suggestions to bake, there is a recipe for starter and for sourdough. If, however, you resist the baking and only want to eat, you're up a creek without a paddle. Who makes real sourdough anymore?


  1. Now I'm hungry for sourdough bread . . .

    1. Me, too. It looks like a lot of work but the starter is the juice of 3 organic oranges. I could justify it as good for me.

  2. No, I have another starter recipe! Rye flour and pineapple juice. I've been planning on making it for months now. Who makes real sourdough? Tons of people, I've read them all lately.

    Oh oh oh! I am SO damn susceptible. But I MUST find this book anyway!!!

    1. Actually I meant who makes it commercially. And maybe that does happen elsewhere but not around here. I did find a loaf that had been shipped in for California. It's just okay.

  3. Yum! TG used to make sourdough bread once a week, way back when. The starter (aka "Bubbles") had a special spot in the fridge. Alas, TG got especially busy with work, and poor Bubbles eventually died of neglect.

    1. Ahh poor Bubbles. And poor TG so much work. Unless he likes so much work, in which case - yay! But poor you - no more sourdough.

  4. I saw your sourdough comments over at Julie's and decided to pop in and add my 2 cents.

    All you need is flour and water. Say a 1/2 cup of each left in a warm spot (top of fridge) uncovered to catch a wild yeast. Stir periodically to keep a crust from forming. Most people like rye flour for this because it is most likely to have yeasties on it. The only problem with this method is it might go bad before you catch a yeast or you might catch a yeast that tastes nasty. It is a trial and error sort of thing. And winter is a bad time of year to do this because yeast goes dormant in winter. Unless you live someplace warm.

    There are places you can buy starter online. Way back when I got mine from Baker's Catalog/King Arthur's Flour.

    Or you can get starter from someone else. If they don't live near you, have them mail it to you in doubled up ziplock bags or a small plastic container. Or have them let it dry into powder and mail it to you. This way you get something you know tastes like sourdough.

    And the only 2 things different with making sourdough is making sure your starter is fed first (throw flour at it and let it sit) and the fact that it does take 1/2 an hour to an hour longer for the loaves to raise. There are some involved recipes out there. My favorite involves setting part of the dough/starter up the night before and feeding it again when I get up so that it has a stronger sourdough taste. But you don't really have to go that route.

    You can see what's involved if you want by going to my blog and searching sourdough. Click on the post "I'm Baack" and scroll down. I sent the recipe to my daughter while she was at college this summer. There are plenty of recipes that don't call for starting the night before, so don't count that part as a must.

    Have fun, and Good Eating!

    1. Robin - thanks, I'll check out your blog. It's inevitable that I'm going to try it sooner or later.

  5. I, on the other hand, do not like sourdough. (I know, what's wrong with me?) The good news is, I can read safely. ;)

  6. We are fortunate to be able to easily purchase sourdough here...lucky, because poached eggs just aren't the same without a nice chunk of sourdough.

    1. That is lucky. I'll let you keep the poached eggs, though. I'm not an egg eater.