Starters are much like people. For no apparent reason they are ornery, they don't do what you ask, and sometimes you frankly want to kill them. The starters, that is. And I have killed them. All the more suprising when people write to tell me they have offspring from Durga, the first wild sourdough I ever made and shared. Seriously, her offspring are thriving as far away as Maine. I have gone through many starters in the past few years. And the latest young one was just being completely uncoorperative. One dough liquefied and was poured in the trash. Another was not cooked in the middle when I brought it to a party. Epic fail, as my kids say. The last one didn't rise well, but I baked it anyway and ate it this week. Dense, but bread. And then suddenly she is right as rain. Huge, poufy and magnificently risen. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was the new location on the shelf by the window rather than near the sink. I don't know why but suddenly she made a bread of such astounding beauty that I am truly flabbergasted. Just came out of the oven and still hot. The bread looks like most that I usually make, so instead I decided to show you this. The smallest pizza on earth. It is a real pizza. A bit of dough stuck in the bowl, good sauce, homemade mozzarella, salami (really) and some herbs. It was made exactly as a pizza should be. Delicious too. Benji and I split it.
Food Historian at the University of the Pacific.
Author of Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, Beans (2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award) and Pancake. A cookbook with Rosanna Nafziger THE LOST ART OF REAL COOKING.
Coeditor of The Lord's Supper with Trudy Eden and Editor of A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance.
Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia (4 vols.) Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican and Chinese recently won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best Foreign Cuisine book in the World. The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies is in print.
A sequel to the cookbook - entitled THE LOST ARTS OF HEARTH AND HOME.
Latest Books: Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food from Oregon State U Press, a little book on Nuts from Reaktion and The Food History Reader from Bloomsbury. The Most Excellent Book of Cookery (translation of a 16th c. French Cookbook with Tim Tomasik) from Prospect Books. Not to mention THE BEAST: The Food Issues Encyclopedia for Sage. Still in the works.