Alaskan Sourdough


Backbone of The Wild Wild West

I haven’t got much money
I don’t like to make a show
But when it comes to real good friends
I love to share my ‘dough’

-By Hal ‘Lucky Luke’ Lucas

Some of you may remember passing round Alaskan Sourdough Starters to your friends and family along with your own yarn of how you came to possess such a precious, delicious, practical and ancient culture. Here is a version I discovered on a scrap of paper mixed in with my grandmother’s recipes:

This starter originated from the Sour Doughs of Alaska in early gold rush days, and has been handed down from igloo to ice-box to electric refrigerator and propagated through friendship channels. The original sample was brought from the Yukon. It was smuggled out by a successful miner who found the original in a deserted miner’s cabin on Sour Dough Creek; he in turn, shared his secret with the Captain of a four-master sailing vessel. The Captain gave a sample to the mayor of San Francisco. From him it was stolen by the mayor’s cook who in turn sold ‘starts’ to wealthy Spanish Grandees. My sister in San Jose got her ‘start’ through connections from a hermit who lives back of Mt. Hamilton.

(You may pass this along to your friends, but be sure to add your own flavor to the above story.)

This recipe followed the above yarn:

Sour Dough Hot Cakes

Serves 2 to 3 people

Do this at night:

  • Take 2 cups of sifted flour and add
  • 1 c milk and one of warm water more or less

Mix in your sourdough starter to thickness similarly to hot cake batter. Cover with oiled paper and set over night in a warm place; (on top of the pilot burner is a good place.)


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Methods of Mycelia

A Real Life Tale of Battle With Unseen Forces

4-515 Adelaide St,
Berhampore, New Zealand

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They are all around, in the air I breathe, colonizing my mucous membranes and forming mycelia through my brain and nervous system. My skin crawls with their prick, first on my temple, then my cheek, now my forehead. A tick has developed beneath my right eye, my heart races one moment and slows the next. Loki sits across the room sneezing in furious bouts every few minutes. His eyes are red and running, his breathing harsh and labored. We are both lethargic and uninspired, our brains foggy, unable to focus or to make decisions. As we twitch and gasp, the night deepens and the air seems to close in–oppressive; full of unseen spores and myco-toxins.

Loki and I had recently moved into an old neglected apartment, with a strange smell, gently reminding us of cat piss. We soon discovered that underneath the carpet the floor was completely digested by mold. There was no ventilation other than a few small windows, which were constantly dripping with condensation. Even the ancient fridge was harboring a variety of fungi. The air was close and the smell of musty cat urine oozed out through the air.

During the winter we noticed we were constantly lacking in energy. Loki’s asthma, which he hadn’t had since he was young, returned and steadily grew worse. When the temperature suddenly warmed up with the coming of spring, our symptoms became more acute. Finally, I went through three days of intense sinus headaches, fevers, nausea and vomiting. During this time all I could do was toss and turn, even groaning, as I tried to find a position that eased the pain. Half asleep and half awake I had strange lucid dreams of conversations with large wolves and little people alternating with sharp pains in my uterus and chest. I was getting my period every two weeks.

mushroomOur concern that our health was being effected by these damp moldy conditions was confirmed after finding mushrooms popping their slimy heads from an especially damp corner of the room. I remember how I found them. I was pushing aside one of the long curtains in the living room when I noticed some strange cords poking out from the edge of the carpet. I looked closer and suddenly realized I was looking at mushrooms, not cords. Stunned, I yelled for Loki, he came over and grumpily stared at what I was pointing at.
“Yeah, so?” he started to mutter, “why are you looking at those cables?”
I said “No. Look!”