I didn't keep a diary as a kid. I did, however, keep a list of emergency supplies I'd need in the event I happened upon a time machine: formulas for soap, remedies for stomach ailments and, most importantly, a recipe for sourdough starter. Starters, those homemade slurries of flour, water, yeast and sugar, are the backbone of great breads. Since the days of Byzantium and Phaeronic Egypt, little bits of natural candida have been dropping from the ether and fermenting blobs of flour and water. Baking a crusty loaf is an excellent way to win over the locals in any century.
By Gesine Prado, a food writer in Worcester, Vt.