Abigail Feeds Her Sourdough Starter


Abigail, a four-year-old chameleon, had during lockdown made it a habit to feed her sourdough starter twice a week, and this Wednesday was no exception. By feeding it now, she had the option of an impromptu bake on Saturday morning should she find herself in the mood.

As she peeled the blue lid off the Tupperware container, the ripe vinegar smell hit her nostrils, and Abigail couldn’t help but turn dark aquamarine down to her midriff. Oh, how she loved that smell. Since she last year had to give up on laying any eggs of her own, few things fed her motherly instincts like nursing the starter she had named Orla because of its non-binary quality. Abigail placed the open Tupperware on the digital kitchen scale and reduced Orla to four ounces with a tablespoon.

“Don’t worry, child,” she whispered while breaking out in magenta polka dots all over, “mama’s gonna get you stronger now.”

She then turned on the faucet to let the water run a little warm and added another four ounces of all-purpose flour to Orla. Even though the starter didn’t seem sensitive to the brand of all-purpose flour, Abigail always used the organic non-bleached kind from Wholefoods.

She measured the water temperature with her right front leg and waited until she had changed to bright orange and knew the water was warm enough. She then filled a Purex cup with four ounces of the water and poured it down the side of Orla’s container with care. Abigail grabbed a wooden spoon from a drawer behind her and blended Orla, flour, and water while humming the show-tune Randy Rainbow and Patti LuPone had just released on YouTube and focused on a shiny apple green.

With less than two weeks until the end of the election, Abigail noticed that it had become almost impossible to light herself up by the power of positive thinking only. The oppressive energy state of the country enveloped her mind like a thick wet gray blanket. If she weren’t careful, it would break through the door to the inner sanctum where all the colors came from.

That was why Abigail, for the last three months, had experimented with adding a little pot to her sourdough loaves. She reckoned she had now found the right balance between enough of a mood boost to bring out primary colors and not so much of the munchies the bread itself could not quell it.

Abigail put the lid back on Orla, found a rubber band in the drawer next to the sink, and put it around the bottom of the Tupperware container to see how much Orla expanded. For now, she left the starter out on the kitchen counter next to the stove. Later tonight, when Orla was done bubbling up, she would go back in the fridge until Saturday morning.


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