The Start of Something Big


Crab season is open in this part of the world, and according to the crab fishermen it’s going to be a banner year. The pots are coming in full with nice big crabs for the eating. The opening of crab season really says Holidays to me, more so than just about anything.

The best way to eat crab is with your hands on a newspaper lined table, up to your elbows in the juices, dipping the sweet meat in clarified butter and relishing the catch. Make up a nice green salad with a light, lemony vinaigrette and slice up some good sourdough bread for sopping, and you have a meal fit for a king. Or a king and queen, as N and I usually devour this simple, succulent meal together.

Yesterday my dad dropped of two lovely crabs, and I picked up a nice head of organic red lettuce and some seeded sourdough bread. We’re ready for tonight’s feast.

In the last year I’ve branched out into making my own bread with my bread machine, using this website as my guide. I know, you’re thinking ‘who still has a bread machine? I donated mine ages ago when the craze was over’ or ‘I got really tired of having a half a loaf of unusable bread because there’s a hole in the bottom where the paddle is after it bakes.’

Well, I have a bread machine still, which we’ve used to make pizza dough for ages. And last fall, in a fit of health in my back-to-basics movement, I began baking much of our own bread,  getting tired of seeing the amount of scary, unpronounceable things on the back of the bag at the grocery, as well as paying better than $5.00 a loaf for great bakery bread. After a few tries, my loaves of bread came out of the oven bakery-perfect, and I’ve even used some of the basics on this website to make some of my own creations.

But what of sourdough bread? It evades me, with my fear of having to keep something alive in order to make a successful, sour loaf of bread. Keep it alive? Yes, sourdough comes from a ‘mother’ which needs to be fed and aged and cared for to get the very best bread. A successful, strong mother can live for many long years, like the ones at the famous bakeries in San Francisco. Now, the only reason the cat is still around is because he tells me he’s hungry. If he didn’t he’d have gone the way of the houseplant ages ago. This gives me pause.

I’ve decided to at least try to make sourdough, starting today with making the mother. It has to age and grow and get sour, and I hope I have the patience and memory to help it on it’s way. (I’m going to set reminders on my Google calendar to help me to remember  to feed the thing. Ah, technology!).

Hopefully by next weekend, I’ll have made my first loaf of sourdough bread, in time to make stuffing out of it for our very first post-Thanksgiving feast (yes, I’m baking my first turkey. Should be interesting).

Wish me luck…


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