When I started this blog I had intended it just be a diary account of renovations we did to this old home and what we were establishing in the garden and vegetable patch. Throw in a bit of preserving and foodie stuff and that was it. I had no idea it would lead to “meeting” some amazing people from right across the globe and learning so many different things from other bloggers who offer so much. It’s really like one big fat support group for whatever you do!
One of these delightful people is Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Celia’s blogs covers a wealth of subjects, some food related some not. She turns out amazing bread and meals like a machine (but they look and I bet, taste) way better than a machine had created them. She shows great compassion for those experiencing hard times and has a slightly wicked sense of humour from what I’ve gleaned. Celia has been generously sharing her sourdough starter ‘Priscilla’, Queen of the refrigerator (named from the movie Priscilla, Queen of the desert) to people and giving them advice on how to activate, maintain and use the starter to make bread. Well guess who’s a lucky old recipient? Yep, moi! Celia graciously offered me some and I wasn’t about to miss out on such a great opportunity. I’m keen to see the difference between starters. Here is the treasured packet of granules just waiting to be resuscitated. Not only is there starter, but also a detailed set of instructions for kicking life back into it ready to bake some bread.
One of Celia’s requests is to name the starter so the family lineage of Priscilla can be tracked. Now this was tricky….
My first thought was to use a name that tied back to the movie but all I could come up with was “Ping Pong”. Please don’t ask me to explain! I was a little concerned this could be a bit controversial so I’ve decided to name her Phoenicia (long lost relative of Priscilla) in honour of the ancient Phoenicians who are considered to be responsible for the first breads.
The following was taken from The History of Bread.
The Egyptian grammarian and philosopher Athenaeus, who lived in the third century A.D., has handed down to us considerable knowledge about bread and baking in those days. He wrote that the best bakers were from Phoenicia or Lydia, and the best bread-makers from Cappadocia. He gives us a list of the sorts of bread common in his time-leavened and unleavened loaves; loaves made from the best wheat flour; loaves made from groats, or rye, and some from acorns and millet. There were lovely crusty loaves too, and loaves baked on a hearth. Bakers made a bread mixed with cheese, but the favourite of the rich was always white bread made from wheat. In ancient Greece, keen rivalry existed between cities as to which produced the best bread. Athens claimed the laurel wreath, and the name of its greatest baker, Thearion, has been handed down through the ages in the writings of various authors. During the friendly rivalry between the towns, Lynceus sings the praises of Rhodian rolls. ‘The Athenians’, he says,
Thank you Celia, I will nurture her lovingly.