Michael Pollan’s book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, (http://michaelpollan.com) is one of the most influential books I have read, in terms of how I approach food. I have always found making bread to be magical, mystical, and spiritual. And I’ve had mixed success with sourdough. Had used it for a while, just wasn’t all that impressed, and pretty much gave up on it. But after reading Pollan’s book, I decided to give it a whirl. And OMG, I’m so glad I did. I had had a starter going and then went off on vacation, came home, and was truly at death’s door with pneumonia for most of last summer. So, the sourdough starter went by the wayside, and while I tried to revive it, something funky had gotten into the mix and I had to throw it out. Well, recently, I bought some more starter and got it going. I made the first batch of bread too soon, before the starter had become strong enough, but I kept feeding it and nurturing it, and the second batch of bread was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Everyone who ate it commented on how good it was. So, I will continue to use that. It is no more of a hassle than any other bread and I love that the dough is like a living organism. In making the bread, if I have any flat beer around, I use that for at least some of the water in the dough and it gives such wonderful flavor. It is definitely worth both reading Pollan’s book and making sourdough bread. The aroma is amazing…it makes you understand the meaning behind describing bread of the “staff of life”.