38. Sourdough and Schitt’s Creek

Whassup??? Haven’t talked to you guys since March. What’ve you been doing? Been to the theatre? New restaurants? Playing much bridge or poker? Your book group getting together? You been to the new bagel place on Chicago Avenue? Any dinner parties or cookouts?

No? Same here. Like most of you, we’ve been quarantining. Sheltering in place. Social distancing. Keeping ourselves at least 6 feet from anyone not named Larry or Carole Mitchener.

And – for the record – Larry and Carole Mitchener are both still alive. For now. Although Carole has threatened to kill my sourdough starter.

As you know, sheltering in place is no fun. Whether you live in a mansion or a studio, you’re stuck within that space. It’s your universe. So we began devising ways to turn our condo into a playground.

We tried board games. But how much Monopoly and Scrabble can two people play?

We could read more. After all, we have lots of books (I’m an English major) and many back issues of The New Yorker (I’m an English major). But if we read all day, our eyes would burn, our heads would explode, and we would become overbearingly literate.

Take walks when the weather’s nice? That’s what we should do; and it’s what Carole actually does. But her elderly husband has these elderly legs that weren’t made for walkin’.

We went through many possibilities, until we accidentally stumbled on two activities that became integral parts of our quarantined lives. One of them was making sourdough bread from scratch.

Carole loves sourdough bread, and eagerly encouraged me. It was something I decided to do for her.

When I was single 34+ years ago, I baked bread. A single guy who made his own bread (and had a charming daughter) was quite a draw for single women. But the bread I made back then was regular loaf bread, using dry yeast. Sourdough’s different.

I didn’t know how different. Sourdough is not just a recipe; it’s a lifestyle commitment. It takes time, patience, flour, water, kitchen space, self-confidence, mixing bowls, dish towels, more time, more flour, colanders, more counter space, a big heavy pot, a 500-degree oven. And nothing else on your schedule for a week.

It’s a science project you can eat when you’re done.

To make sourdough bread or pizza dough or any other sourdough concoction, you start by making sourdough starter. Sourdough starter is made from flour and water. If you do it right and do it long enough, you create your own living, breathing yeast.

A little bit of the starter is then mixed with more flour and other ingredients to make bread or pizza dough or whatever. The eerie thing about the starter is that it’s alive – a yeast beast – and it takes over your kitchen.

Actually, if it had taken over my kitchen, there’d be no problem. But it took over Carole’s kitchen, and that became a bit of a… topic for much discussion. And she probably didn’t mean it – at least that’s what she told the police when they came – but she threatened to do away with my starter!

Things have settled down now. The starter is still alive and breathing. (I can’t say where I’m keeping it, in case she reads this.) I’ve made four loaves of sourdough bread, and dough for four sourdough pizzas from the starter. Carole and I agree that the bread and pizza dough were phenomenal.

 

The other activity that has taken over our isolated lives is the Netflix comedy series, Schitt’s Creek. We’ve binge watched several excellent TV series, but Shitt’s Creek is by far the funniest, most addictive. We strongly recommend it.

Eugene Levy and his son, Dan Levy, created the series, and both star in it, along with Catherine O’Hara from earlier Levy films. One episode gets me through a half hour of exercise on the recumbent bike, so it’s an important part of my workout regimen.

All six seasons are on Netflix. Carole and I are slowing down watching it because we’re on season 4, and we don’t want it to be over. It’s that good. Depending on how long the quarantine lasts, we’ll be searching for another series to watch while working out.

Or maybe I just focus solely on perfecting and expanding my sourdough life. I understand there are sourdough pancakes, brownies, cookies, tortillas, muffins, and God knows what else.

And if I can figure out how to do all my sourdough mixing while on the recumbent bike (which is in our bedroom), Carole’s kitchen will remain a lot cleaner. It’s a win-win.

7 thoughts on “38. Sourdough and Schitt’s Creek

  1. Kudos for getting into the sourdough thing. Wonder how long after “this” ends (if ever) you will keep it going – question of a once and done sourdough user. You probably have much more passion and inventiveness to keep going forever.
    We too have begun the Schitt’s Creek binging after Grace & Frankie and The Kaminski Method have come to their ends at least so far. Didja see Seinfeld’s latest stand-up which just has come to Netflix? a perfect hour of belly laughs just when we needed it a lot.

    Thanks again for so eloquently commenting on this crazy time. Luv it!

  2. Hello Larry
    Great to hear that Carole hasn’t murdered you yet. She is such a saint. I have removed all sharp objects as I am a bit worried about Rogue.
    Not exactly the way I planned to spend my golden years. Good news is that we are all well kids and grand kids a little squirrelly but getting through. Thanks for the post.
    Bill

  3. We are glad to know that you and Carole are still alive. Are you sharing any of your sourdough bread with your poor friends? A Series that we have been bin enjoying is Mozart in the Jungle on prime.

  4. Here in my mountain town we are howling at 8 pm every night. We all go out on our decks and just let go with the best howls we can come up with. Dogs join us, and coyotes too, I presume.

    I enjoy hearing howls coming across the valley from the mountain ridges on the other side of town. For five minutes or so, every night, we join together to howl.

    1. Jennifer, this is the most original response to the pandemic I’ve heard yet. I’m guessing there are a lot of excited coyotes prowling the hills, trying to hook up. Be careful!

  5. Hi Larry, Thanks again for a fun read! I did sourdough for one summer (between school sessions) decades ago but quit because I gain 5 pounds that summer!!! My downfall (and you did not mention this option!) was cinnamon rolls! Yummm!
    We are looking to start a new series so I appreciate the suggestions. With “Outlander” ending Sun. (Starz) and caught up with “Dead to Me” (Netflix) we’re searching.
    We also howl here in Ft. Collins at 8:00 to honor the 1st responders, etc. And, yes, the dogs join in. As far as games go, we really enjoy backgammon several times a week. It’s a great combination of chance & strategy & only takes a short time to play.
    Glad you are both well. Take care!

  6. Hi Larry, Thank you for the great read! I totally relate to the Schitt’s Creek section, but I don’t have your patience and allowed myself many late-night binges until I finished all the episodes. They almost become family and you miss them when they’re gone. The very first Netflix series I watched was Offspring and it was awful when it ended. I felt like I’d lost a best friend. And then came Grace & Frankie and I was practically watching myself (more Frankie than Grace for sure!) and I never wanted that to end, either. So, I fear starting anything like sourdough because I’d dread that eventual demise as well. But I can almost smell it now….
    Glad you are well – stay safe!

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