This week as I made my sourdough I was reminded of a scene in Julie and Julia. After a particularly stressful day Julie comforted herself by making chocolate cream pie. As she poured the filling into the shell she reflected on the therapeutic values of cooking.
“You know what I love about cooking? I love that after a day when nothing is sure and when I say nothing, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. That’s such a comfort.”
Two things went wrong for me this week. I woke up on Wednesday and checked my phone, ready to jump for joy at America’s first woman president. When I saw that hateful creature had won I opened my mouth to scream but no sound came out. It was literally a living nightmare. Not only had that deplorable tangerine triumphed, I had acute laryngitis and couldn’t express my sorrow. I spent the next three days off sick from work, in a silent state of shock.
I am Irish, and live in Dublin. But I am half American. My mother is American, I was born and semi-raised in New Hampshire. I feel Irish, but I have voted in the US Presidential and mid-term elections since I came of age in 2008. I feel invested in the country as a global citizen.
Like many others, I was horrified by this election. I feel so sad and angry that that man’s (still can’t say his name) offensive behaviour has been legitimised and condoned. I respect the fact that he has spoken to people who feel disaffected. But couldn’t he have done that without inciting violence and spreading hate? As I watched Hillary Clinton concede I sobbed.
But, as Obama said, the sun will continue to rise and set. You just have to get on with things. So I continued baking. Kneading a squidgy, puffy, pillowy ball of dough did wonders for my spirit. And eating a slice spread thickly with butter even more so!
For this loaf I doubled the amount of potatoes. So I used 2. And I didn’t have extra strong white flour. Just plain strong. I used 3/4 white and 1/4 wholemeal. And I fed my started closer to baking it because I wanted to see if that would make my bread more bubbly. It wasn’t that bubbly, maybe because of the wholemeal and potatoes, but it was nice and puffy. Such a comfort.