Today’s the big day. Bird is the Word is “officially” launched. So, if you are here for the first time, welcome! I cannot even describe how much of a dream come true this day is. But first, pancakes.
Since I can remember, my Mom has had a mason jar of sourdough starter in her refrigerator. I can’t recall the factual story of how she came to have it, but the one I like to tell is that my grandpa brought it back from San Francisco during the war (WWII). I’m not sure it’s entirely true, but it’s lovely and romantic and I know that the starter did in fact come from my grandpa.
I never knew other types of pancakes existed until I was older than I’d like to admit. I thought that the sourdough variety were just how they were made. Whenever I ate them anywhere outside of our kitchen, I was sorely disappointed. Like clockwork, once a week, my mom would get out the griddle she was given as a bridal shower gift in 1979, grease it up with butter and pour puddles of sweet, sour batter all over the surface. The smell of hot butter, the cooking cakes and the berry-flavored syrup required to top them always brought the whole family into the kitchen.
We most often enjoyed the cakes at our family lake cabin in northern Idaho. Which meant we’d already been up for a while, had braved the brisk morning air and water to take our daily water ski and were most likely rabidly hungry. We’d pile into the cabin, wrap ourselves in towels and blankets and gather around the table to dig in to a platter full of pancakes. Often littered with huckleberries picked in the surrounding mountains, the sourdoughs never disappointed.
There’s something so lovely about the commitment to a starter. It creates an occasion once a week to sit down with those you love and nurture something you care about- each other, and delicious food. Though I miss my family terribly and the breakfast times we used to share, now that we have our own starter, Taylor and I relish our weekly batch of cakes. It’s a simple, quiet pleasure and a beautiful, lasting tradition. Do yourself a favor and find a spot in your fridge for a little jar of the sourdough variety.
And…since this is the very “official” launch day for this little site, I’d like to offer everyone a chance to win a small welcome/thank you gift. Leave a note in the “comments” section below and you will be entered to win a year-long subscription to your choice of Cook’s Illustrated, Saveur, Bon Appetit or Food & Wine. I’ll draw the winner (randomly) on Monday, so you’ve got all weekend to spread the word! I’d love to provide one of you with a year’s worth of inspiration to say thanks for coming here and letting me share mine.
- 1 cup sourdough starter (buy [url href=”http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/classic-fresh-sourdough-starter-1-oz”]here[/url], or [url href=”http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/start-your-own-sourdough-starter-recipe”]make your own[/url])
- 2 cups flour (can sub whole wheat flour)
- 2 cups water
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp sugar (can sub honey)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (can sub coconut)
- 1/4 cup powdered milk
- To the starter, add the flour and water.
- Stir, cover loosely (I use a glass bowl to mix and cover with a plate) and set at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours, or overnight.
- Remove 1 cup of starter and place back in the refrigerator.
- Mix sugar, soda and salt together. To remaining starter mix, add egg, sugar, soda, salt mix, oil and powdered milk. Mix and let sit for 5 mins. before using.