Sourdough (rec.food.sourdough) Discussing the hobby or craft of baking with sourdough. We are not just a recipe group, Our charter is to discuss the care, feeding, and breeding of yeasts and lactobacilli that make up sourdough cultures.

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Old 27-01-2006, 04:08 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
Denny_from_MO
 
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Default Sad news about my starters "mother"... A Sourdough Starter Story

A Sourdough Starter Story

January 2006

Disclaimer: I know that there have been many r.f.s. posts/threads that have
debated the "longevity" of a starter culture. I do not post this story to
start another debate, but rather for entertainment value.

The starter I use came from the central Kansas town of Pratt. I got it back
in 1994 and have been using (and sharing) it for 12 years. Back in the
spring of 1996, I moved to the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff. I
moved into an apartment, started my new job and couldn't wait until my
children could finish out the school year, my wife sold the house and then
the family could move there, joining me. Well, of course, I brought my
starter along with me and starting baking to pass some of my "free time"
since my family was still in Kansas. One day, when I was sharing some of my
sourdough bread with some of my newly made friends (fresh bread seems to
have that effect on people); I was asked by one of them about where I had
gotten the starter from. I told them that I had gotten it from Fr. Ted, the
priest in Pratt, where I had lived; that he had been using it for about 10
years. The person asked where he had gotten it from (the inquisitive type -
like many r.f.s. readers). I told them I didn't know but I would call him
that weekend and find out (I too was curious at that point).

I called Fr. Ted that weekend and he told me he had gotten it from a lady in
the parish that had been using it for a long time. So I called that lady and
continued likewise to call each person backwards in my starter's
"genealogy", to ask "the who" and "the where" they had gotten the starter
from and "the when" that had been. When I reached the fifth generation back
from myself, I ended my search by talking to Lois, a lady that at the time
was in her mid-70's. She told me that she remembered her mother getting the
starter from her aunt, around the time that her little brother was born. I
asked when her brother was born and she answered, "1929". Lois told me that
she remembered that her mother kept the starter, probably in a mason jar,
that was then put into a bucket and was lowered into the cistern (water
well) to right above the water, to keep it cool. She said that was because
they had no refrigerator or icebox back in 1929. Lois told me that she (and
her mother before her) had baked almost daily with their starter and that
she had given away starters to many, many people. Interestingly though, she
didn't call her bread "sourdough" but rather "starter" bread. Unfortunately,
when I asked Lois about her aunt, she told me that she had passed away and I
was not able to find out where the starter had come from before that, so my
genealogy search for my starter ended with Lois. When I share a starter with
someone, I pass along this typewritten genealogy with it, to keep its
"family tree" alive.

Now I have to share the "sad news" part of this story. I called Lois
yesterday, who is now in her mid-80's. I hadn't talked to her in a couple of
years (I should call my starters "mother" more often g). It took her a
minute to remember me since it had been a couple of years. As we chatted
about how things were changing in Pratt, what new things were being built,
the weather and such, she said, "You know I don't have starter any more, don't
you?" I replied sadly, that I did not know that and asked what had happened.
Lois told me that a couple of years ago she starting fighting rheumatoid
arthritis and she found that she just couldn't knead the dough without much
pain. I told her I was sorry to hear that she had to "give up the starter"
(pun intended). She said, "Well I reckon 74 years was long enough!" I
laughed out loud with her, as I pondered how hard it must have been for her
to give it up after that many years, feedings and loaves.

So 2004 was the year that my starter's "mother" passed on - "The End".

Lois, on the other hand, I am sure will keep on kicking for quite some time.


Denny

--
I can be reached by sending to "my posting name"
at that free, Microsoft, electronic mail service.




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Old 27-01-2006, 04:27 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
Boron Elgar
 
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Default Sad news about my starters "mother"... A Sourdough Starter Story

On Fri, 27 Jan 2006 10:08:02 -0600, "Denny_from_MO"
wrote:

A Sourdough Starter Story

January 2006



snip
Now I have to share the "sad news" part of this story. I called Lois
yesterday, who is now in her mid-80's. I hadn't talked to her in a couple of
years (I should call my starters "mother" more often g). It took her a
minute to remember me since it had been a couple of years. As we chatted
about how things were changing in Pratt, what new things were being built,
the weather and such, she said, "You know I don't have starter any more, don't
you?" I replied sadly, that I did not know that and asked what had happened.
Lois told me that a couple of years ago she starting fighting rheumatoid
arthritis and she found that she just couldn't knead the dough without much
pain. I told her I was sorry to hear that she had to "give up the starter"
(pun intended). She said, "Well I reckon 74 years was long enough!" I
laughed out loud with her, as I pondered how hard it must have been for her
to give it up after that many years, feedings and loaves.

So 2004 was the year that my starter's "mother" passed on - "The End".

Lois, on the other hand, I am sure will keep on kicking for quite some time.


Why not send her some starter and instructions of the no-knead,
stretch and fold technique. It might allow her to get back to bread
making. (it might nit help, as lifting the flour container, bowls,
getting things in & out of the oven, etc., may still be difficult)

I have RA, too, and believe me, it can really cause problems with any
sort of kitchen work. You can also tell Lois that the newest
medications are like miracles and that perhaps she would be able to
tolerate taking some of them.

Thanks for the lovely story.

Boron
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Old 27-01-2006, 04:58 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
Dick Adams
 
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Default Sad news about my starters "mother"... A Sourdough Starter Story


"Denny_from_MO" wrote in message ...

Lois told me that a couple of years ago she starting fighting rheumatoid
arthritis and she found that she just couldn't knead the dough without much
pain.


"Boron Elgar" wrote in message ...

I have RA, too, and believe me, it can really cause problems with any
sort of kitchen work. You can also tell Lois that the newest
medications are like miracles and that perhaps she would be able to
tolerate taking some of them.


Why not quit your moaning and get a stand mixer.

Better watch out -- the medications can kill ya!

--
Dicky

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Old 27-01-2006, 08:43 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
Brian Mailman
 
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Default Sad news about my starters "mother"... A Sourdough Starter Story

Denny_from_MO wrote:

So 2004 was the year that my starter's "mother" passed on - "The End".

Lois, on the other hand, I am sure will keep on kicking for quite some time.


Then give some of the descendant back, and if a stand mixer is too
expensive, get her a bread machine to do the kneading on the dough
cycle--the baking can still be done in the oven.

B/
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Old 28-01-2006, 05:08 PM posted to rec.food.sourdough
external usenet poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 14
Default Sad news about my starters "mother"... A Sourdough Starter Story

Denny_from_MO wrote:
A Sourdough Starter Story


So 2004 was the year that my starter's "mother" passed on - "The End".



Ed replies,

I enjoyed the story - thanks for taking the time to share it.


Ed Bechtel



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