I realized tonight that I am like a fine, old sourdough starter. Let me explain:
Unfortunately, the internet and bread cookbooks contain a great deal of misinformation about sourdough. Here [is one of the] myths that we’ve debunked from personal experience:
You should mail-order a sourdough starter to replicate a regional flavor. In all likelihood the wild yeasts in the flour you use will eventually dominate any mail order cultures you purchase. Your starter will become local to wherever you live. Just make your own starter…. Wild yeasts, like love, should be free.
(From the brilliant book The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. Go read it, it’s incredible.)
I worry frequently about old attitudes about life I used to have, outmoded ways of interacting, and friends who no longer fit well into the puzzle of my life. I worry whether I have carried these things with me into the present and whether influential and foundational experiences I had during my teenage years still affect me, who I am, and who I am becoming. Maybe more to the point, can I keep the lessons of the past without keeping my outdated modes of behavior?
Remembering this passage about sourdough starter, I’ve decided that I can. I’ve still got some of that old flavor, but I can keep growing into the person I’m becoming. I am constantly changing inside and out due to the influence of local cultures and wild yeasts, if you will. I am not the person I was in high school (or even in college), and for the first time in a long time I’m proud of that fact and happy about it.