Sourdough

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.

Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.  Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer’s market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show. 

When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

Review

I will probably not be the first to say this but while you are reading this book, keep some sourdough bread nearby. You are gonna wanna eat it.

This book came to my attention when I was just browsing around Goodreads. I am glad it did because I immediately checked whether one of the libraries or even the bookshops (used or otherwise) had it in stock. I had to read it. The name alone tempted me. Of course, I had never even heard of the author before but that was alright. I am always up for adventures, of the reading kind.

Sourdough is a fun, quick and a bit thought-provoking book. It starts with Lois Clary, an engineer who moves from Michigan and all things comfortable to San Francisco. Her life seemed a bit flat, almost monotonous but then she orders dinner from a new place and her taste buds come to life. She seems lonely and often has slept at her office or even had a cry in the office bathroom, as one does.

But then the new place shuts down and she is gifted with their sourdough starter. Beo calls it ‘culture’ which, he’s not wrong. That starter changes her life, the owner asks her to keep the starter alive and she tries to do just that. While she is doing that, she goes through a journey of new realisations and ventures into new directions. This is the story of how Lois realises what she really wanted to do. I really loved the fact that while she starts to love baking the bread, she never leaves behind her love of coding.

She tries to blend the two together to work in harmony. (Well, not in the initial phases, many eggs were tortured in the process) Throughout the book, Lois meets new and interesting people, and they seem real enough that I didn’t even question the things I should have questioned about. The way Sloan writes, it’s almost as if it’s a real thing that ‘Slurry’ exists, that there is a place where people are being paid to marry science and food in new and exciting ways. (I hope it’s not real yet. I don’t know why.)

I also loved the email exchange from Lois and Beo, of the story of the Mazg and the music! I would love to have something like Chaiman’s CD on hand. It sounds like my kind of music!

This book is absolutely fun to read and if you can leave aside certain realities, then this book proves to be much more than just an entertaining read. It’s fun and it’s odd and I loved every moment of reading it. If you are a foodie or a person who loves to read books about food and fiction and just a dash of ‘something else’ then this is the book for you.

 

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