For those of you who may have come on board just recently, Lucille is my sourdough. I read in The Lost Art of Real Cooking, that one of the authors, Rosanna Nafziger, named her sourdough after a goddess. I thought that was a fine idea, so sought a name for mine, as well. Considering that at the time, I was quite new to the real sourdough scene, I had little confidence that I would succeed and therefore named my sourdough, "Lucille". This, in case I flubbed it up really badly, at which point I would bring myself solace by singing, "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille". My reasoning was that if I were sad, and I knew on such an occasion I would be, this song would surely put things back into their proper perspective by causing me to laugh at myself.
I discovered since the start of the sourdough adventure, that it is really much more difficult to kill off sourdough than most people think. Sourdough has a way of playing dead when it doesn't really want to work. But all you have to do is look beneath the surface, as we so often in life must do, to find a thriving culture that maybe needs just a little bit of TLC. You have neglected this living organism and like any other living organism, it dislikes being ignored. So, when you suddenly decide you want and need it, it pretends to be useless. But, most of the time, it really isn't. See what I mean by all this by reading the post, "Hooch Leaves Lucille for Dead".
And so, we all understand who Lucille is. As 'the aproned lady', it is my duty to keep Lucille alive. I make her work hard but then, I feed her well and keep her well-dressed. She gets plenty of fresh-air, fresh water and flour, and about once a week, I throw her a few grapes-a kind of aphrodisiac to sourdough-producing yeasties. So, I see our relationship as one of even exchange. But along with summer came four grandchildren and much running from activity to activity. I started feeling stressed about all the care I was giving Lucille without making her work. Then, I found myself slacking in her care. If you've read the post given above, you know my remedy for Lucille's resulting ailments. Having nursed her well back to health in the manner described there, I decided we needed a vacation from each other.
I gave Lucille her last feeding and stirring exercise and off into the recesses of our refrigerator she went. Lucille has spent the hot summer in cool isolation. I know she missed me. Every now and then, she called out to me and I would visit her for a little while, talk to her and tell her I just wasn't ready to commit to full-time care yet. She said she was enjoying her vacation too much to come back, anyway, but just wanted a reminder that she was still loved. Reassured, fed, watered and exercised, she would return to her summer home.
But today, the last day of summer, I reached in and pulled her out. She was napping. She opened a tiny eye, and yawned a sleepy, "Hi!"
"Hi, yourself, Sleepyhead," I laughed.
"Well, I guess it's about time you got around to feeding me," she said a bit grumpily. "...Where's my flour?"
"Oh, it's right here. Ready?"
She giggled, "Always ready!"
"And here's your water."
"And let's exercise a little." I stirred Lucille gently, then surprised Lucille with an offering of her favorite...grapes.
"Grapes! Wow, what's the occasion?"
I laughed. I couldn't help it. Lucille should have known I wasn't going to be that nice for nothing.
"Vacation's over, Baby...You ready to work?"
"And how!" she replied, and it was my turn to be surprised. "...But first...another nap?"
"Certainly," I replied as I poured her into a larger container.
"Whee, that was fun!" she squealed. "Maybe I don't need a nap after all."
"Oh, yes you do, little one. We have to grow you and get you good and strong after all your lax time this summer, so you can make me some killer bread!"
"Sounds good to me," Lucille yawned. "Sounds...really....good....to......"
And so, Lucille is being weaned off vacation. After I strengthen her well by feeding, watering and 'exercising' her twice a day for a week to ten days, I'll see how well she can handle bread in a loaf pan. Before too long, she should be strong enough to stand on her own...that's when we get to wax really creative!
I'm glad Lucille's so ready to get back to work, because I know I sure am. ;)