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Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Published September 2017
MCD Farrar, Straus and Giroux
What a wonderfully fun book this is!
Lois works in robotics in a tech company in San Francisco. She spends her days coding and her nights, often writing more code and falling asleep on one of the company cots. Mealtime is a nutritive gel called slurry.
But one night, she discovers a little food delivery service and orders spicy soup and sourdough bread. It brings her back to life, alighting her taste buds and filling her empty stomach.
When the food delivery guys get deported, they leave the sourdough starter with Lois. Their instructions: use into bake bread and feed it each day with a mix of flour, water, and music.
So she does. Lois turns her brilliant deductive mind to bread baking and gets good at it. You wonder, though, if the bread is good because of her baking skills, or because there’s something mystical about that special sourdough starter.
There are three things I love about Sourdough:
Alllll the carbs. I spent much of the book wishing I had a hunk of crusty sourdough in hand. It is delicious reading.
The only thing Sourdough lacks is a good starter recipe. I know it’s not a cookbook, but how can you dangle those wonderful carbs in front of us without a lifeline? Here’s a random recipe for sourdough starter I found via Google.
#2: A woman in tech
We hear all the time about how there’s a lack of women and diversity in the technology industry. When you see Silicon Valley scions, it’s usually white men. Lois fills a void with her special skills.
It’s nice to see Lois, this intelligent young woman who applies her brilliant brain to solving several pickles in the course of the book.
#3: It’s witty fun
Lois belongs to a club with other Loises. She participates in a strange, possibly radioactive underground farmer’s market. She works with robotic arms.
There is one point where the sourdough starter takes on a trait I’m not crazy about. You’ll know what I mean when you get there.
Sourdough is delightful! Now, to get baking…