Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Lois is out of college, she gets a job offer at a robot tech company that'll make her lots of money, so she moves to sunny California to live the dream. Problem: said company is draining her soul with late nights (or just nights where she sleeps at work) and consumption of nutritionally packed grey slushies. What will get her out of this funk? If you answered nondescript brothers giving her a starter for sourdough bread (basically her will to live) then you are correct!

Fiction foodie stories are always so freaking weird. They have this weird tinge of sadness (that comes with adulthood) with the magic of food. Literally, some strange magic is going down in this book.

Lois's situation was kind of how everyone feels after their first job out of college. This is what I'm supposed to do so I'll leave and live my life doing what I studied for. Sometimes, it doesn't go exactly as planned. Life likes to screw you over. And maybe what you are "supposed" to do isn't what will bring you joy. Maybe a chance menu in the mail will bring you closer to your true calling - sourdough bread.

It sounds silly but Lois really gets into sourdough bread and we discover with her how on Earth people make bread (more interesting than you were aware of). Before all the bread making, Lois starts ordering off the brother's menu some spicy soup that comes with sourdough bread. She falls in love. She's been stressed, her stomach's been hurting, and she's had to consume a grey slushie that no human should have to consume. So obviously she starts eating spicy soup and sourdough everyday as much as she can.

After the brothers have to call it quits they give her a starter (the term you may know it as is a culture). They show her how to make it happy so it'll make her some sourdough bread. One thing leads to another and homegirl has found her calling. However, there are strange things that go on with this starter. It almost feels otherworldly. *Ooh, mystery*

Mmmm... bread

Foodie reads are always interesting and fun to dive into and Sourdough was no exception. The writing is fantastic. I loved the elements of mystery, wonderment, and the self-discovery journey Lois embarks on. Lois really branches out, meets new people, and becomes happier throughout the course of this book.

The only thing that bothered me really was the weird backstory, the Mazg and the two brothers. The two brothers choose to give Lois the starter because she appreciated their food. She was after all their Number One Customer. I didn't particularly like how their culture was like this exotic thing that they had to explain and the MC was a girl with no traditions other than her grandmothers prison bread. It felt kind of sketchy at times. The Mazg culture was very odd to me which I'm sure was the whole point. AND, it was like the brothers were having a one way conversation through e-mail to Lois. Why don't you put her questions or responses to their e-mails? Why?

If you like strange foodie books you can't go wrong with this one. I had minor problems with the story but overall it sustained my interest and now I want to make bread. And wasn't that the goal all along?

Do you know how bread is made? Have you ever made any? If not, what is your favorite food item to make? Are they steeped in tradition or are they just the best thing you could ever hope to make?

Comments

  1. I make bread every week, baking in a stoneware cloche, and love how it turns out. However over the years I've killed any number of sourdough starters. Guess we don't get along. They need regular (or more frequent) coddling.

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  2. I saw this reviewed somewhere else and had to mark it as a "Need to Read." Your synopsis and thoughts just reiterate that.

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  3. I had a starter for bread years ago. It was really good. Wish I could find the info on how to start it.

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  4. Sorry about the weird backstory, but seems like an intriguing book all around. I do not know how to make bread...at least, not really. I feel like I've seen or read about it before but I've never made my own.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  5. This sounds really interesting. I hadn't heard of this story before. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for linking up with Foodies Read.

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