There’s someone living in my kitchen.
She tucks herself away at the back of the countertop.
She’s shy and unassuming (so no photos).
She burps a lot.
I met her about seven weeks ago. Well, I didn’t really meet her. I made her. Just as Doctor Frankenstein created his monster, I created my kitchen creature. And I named her Frankie. (Get it?)
Every day I feed Frankie her special diet – flour and water – and she springs to life, bubbling and blurping. She’s inveigled her way into my heart and into our lives.
I talk about Frankie a lot. How much I love her. How she’s changed my life. Did I mention that I made her? From scratch?
You see, Frankie is my sour dough starter – a living culture who occupies a pretty vintage Pyrex bowl beneath a diaphanous veil of cling wrap, tucked away in a corner of the kitchen countertop, well away from the busy-ness of the “work triangle.”
Frankie likes to keep to herself and you’d almost not know she was there.
But for the daily feeding.
And the burping and farting.
Frankie comes into her own on baking day. So far, she’s breathed life into sour dough loaves, semolina loaves, fruit bread, olive bread and ciabatta rolls. She’s been a whole-of-family hit in tray-sized slabs of pizza draped in home-made pesto, thin-sliced potato and thyme.
She’s turned out to be quite the versatile gal.
I love Frankie but every now and then, we tire of one another. I notice the kitchen is veiled in a fine layer of flour, that the oven has been blaring for days on end and that my baking apron seriously needs a good wash.
So I tell Frankie it’s not her, it’s me – and quietly pop her into the fridge. In a few hours she settles down, stops her bubbling and plopping. She simply goes to sleep. She’s like a hibernating bear … a placid, tiny and cute bear, snoozing in the fridge behind the zucchini pickles.
It’s inevitable. After four or five days, I’m missing Frankie like mad. I lift her out into the warmth of the kitchen and feed her a daily ration of flour and water. Within an hour or two, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world, she gives up a tiny burp and a fizzle of mini-bubbles. She’s awake and we take up where we left off. All is good with the world.
I’m not sure what the future holds for Frankie and me but I’ve heard of sour dough cultures that are decades (even centuries) old. There’s a good chance that Frankie will outlive me and that just doesn’t bear thinking about.
So, for now, we’re taking things one day at a time and just seeing where life leads us.
No big plans.
My kitchen creature and I are living in the moment.
** Special thanks to a couple of brilliant Tassie bloggers, Alex at Hello from Tassie and Holli from Twins, plus one for inspiration and instructions on creating and caring for Frankie. Without you, we’d be nothing. :)