Thanks to Ann’s “food and friendship” June Online Reading Challenge, I finally read Sourdough by Robin Sloan, and it surpassed all my expectations and MAY have been better than Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore…
We meet Lois as she moves to San Francisco, wooed by a tech company’s promises of a glamorous, meaningful, and lucrative career programming robots. And then we see her weighed down by a monotonous, workaholic life where the only food that doesn’t upset her stressed stomach is the company’s nutrition gel, Slurry. Until, that is, she discovers a family-owned business that will deliver soup (“double spicy”) and sourdough bread (homemade) at all hours – and she knows peace again. All too soon, the brothers have visa issues and have to leave. But they leave Lois their sourdough starter, and she’s forced to learn how to feed it and bake with it. Somehow this leads her down a path of smiling loaves, reading hipster baking books, building her own brick oven, auditioning for farmers’ markets, butting heads with food gurus, and teaching robotic arms to crack eggs. And maybe she’ll figure out the life she wants along the way.
This book was addictive to read, tugging gently on the heartstrings and written with dry, matter-of-fact humor. Lois’ journey is a heartwarming climb out of dystopia toward contentment and fulfillment by working with her hands. Surprisingly, it’s almost a retelling of Voltaire’s Candide, with a relative innocent swept into unexpected adventures, inadvertently examining the cost of ambition and what really makes a happy life.
If you need a tasty, hopeful read where light shenanigans ensue and many friends are made, you should read this book.
If you can make it, then I bet there is a day reserved on the calendar to celebrate it. Every once in a while I like to peek at the holidays and special recognitions assigned to the current month. Many of the days are filled with celebrations of a particular food. What better way to surprise your friends, family, or coworkers than to treat them to a platter of goodies to celebrate the unique holiday?
Deviled Egg Day: November 2 – My taste buds do not understand the satisfaction and joy that is invoked by this tiny smelly yellow thing, but I must admit this side dish shows up at nearly every function I attend that includes food. Therefore, I must be in the minority. Even my children have succumbed to the powers of this egg, mustard, and mayonnaise thing. For the egg lovers out there check out D’lish Deviled Eggs by Kathy Casey. I might even find a twist on this that I enjoy. For a few quick ideas, check out Huffpost Taste by the Huffington Post.
Sandwich Day: November 3 – We all have our favorite sandwiches. Asking someone their Hungry Hobo number is a fun way to get to know someone. Try it with a friend or family member, you might be completely surprised by the answer. Eventually you will meet your sandwich twin! But I tend to get bored eating the same sandwich; I need to change it up. Chef Tom Colicchio’s book ‘wichcraft includes sandwich recipes from the New York restaurant chain of the same name. These sandwiches are very unique and full of flavor. Cooking Light has 102 Super Sandwiches you can sink your teeth into right now!
Cook Something Bold Day: November 8 – Sure, why not? The idea behind this holiday is to create a dish that will fill your home with amazing flavors. It works well this time of year as many parts of the country are locking up windows for the winter to keep the heat in. Asian Grill by Corinne Trang has over 80 recipes for dressings, breads, desserts, vegetables, and meats bursting with bold Asian flavors. For more tips, recipes and Asian flavor, click Cooking By Feel.
Homemade Bread Day: November 17 – Nothing beats bread fresh out of the oven, so how about you make it fresh out of your own oven! Thanks to authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois making bread is quick and easy. The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day is fully revised and updated from the 2007 edition. New additions include 30 additional recipes and a gluten free chapter! For more gluten free bread ideas, visit Allrecipes.