Just out of curiosity…

Do you know where yeast comes from?

I do: the grocery store. It comes in handy little packets, designated for particular uses by the labelling.

This is very convenient for me, because, apart from the baking aisle, I have literally no idea where to find/harvest/grow yeast. Is it hunt? Does one hunt it? Are there pack[et]s of wild yeasts, roaming the countryside?

Generally speaking, this kind of thing doesn’t keep me up at night, except for tonight, but that’s largely because I was too busy having an amazing time this weekend to draft a post. And I did say I’d post at least once a week. I even put that on Facebook, so you know it’s true.

Seriously, though.

Does it ever stop and make you think, “How the hell did they figure yeast out, anyway? And who were they?” I mean, humanity has been eating bread for an awfully long time and I’m pretty sure it’s been of the leavened variety for longer than Wonderbread‘s been available.

I’m also pretty sure that, were there to be an apocalypse of some kind, those of us who survive it would be up the proverbial creek for a myriad of reasons. Just for the record, I optimistically include myself on this team of survivors. It is my hypothesis, after all…

Yeast aside, how about mushrooms? Indeed, you say—how about them? Well, most of them look pretty devious to me. I love truffles, but they’re kind of malevolent-looking funghi, if I do say so myself. Funky, wrinkly delicious little funghi that I can’t tell from poison truffles. If I’m needing to forage for my dinner, I’m likely to kill myself and anyone else unlucky enough to be over for the meal.

Do you know which berries are poisonous and which ones make delicious pies? Because I sure as heck don’t.

Let’s say I’m making a celebratory post-apocalyptic pie. One must carry on, after all, and it’s important to keep the morale high in such dismal circumstances. Let’s imagine (because it would be purely imaginative) that I’ve somehow managed to discern the tasty, non-fatal varieties from the instant-and-yet-still-agonizingly-painful-death varieties. I mean, it’d be pretty shitty irony if my “Yay-We’re-Still-Alive” pie killed what few persistent and tenaciously dogged survivors that made it relatively unscathed through The Great Whatever.

But back to the pie: a pie needs a crust. I can’t make flour and I have no idea where I’d find lard. How does one make lard? Actually, on second thought, please nobody answer that. I don’t think I want to know. But you see where I’m going with this, right?

I’m not sitting here freaking out or anything (in case you were worried). Nor do I fear/foresee an impending apocalypse, just for the record. I just wonder about these things sometimes.

We have come an awfully long way, as a species, but it’s a bit sobering to think that my house pets would better survive and be suited to life sans comforts/necessities than I would, no contest. This is saying something, because currently, my dog is rubbing his head against my feet, while Maui hides from nothing at all, under the bed. I can’t see Hermes, but it’s a fair bet that he’s laying close to his food dish. On second thought, maybe Hermes wouldn’t fare well. After all, he’s not that resourceful and he’s awfully lazy…

Anyway. Stuff to think about. Am I the only one who wonders (not worries; just wonders) about this kind of stuff? What random stuff makes you go hmm?

Another example: shoe-water/weatherproofing spray. I don't know where this stuff comes from. So, what, my shoes all get wrecked, because life as we know it is changed forever?

Another example: shoe-water/weatherproofing spray. I don’t know where this stuff comes from. So, what, my shoes all get wrecked, because life as we know it is changed forever?

5 thoughts on “Just out of curiosity…

  1. Yeast is everywhere. There are different strains everywhere. Mix flour and water together, leave it out…next day remove some, add more flour and water, leave it out…eventually there will be enough yeast for the bread to rise. This is how sourdough is made. And sourdoughs from different places taste differently depending on the yeast strain (You can also add things to a sour starter for flavour, but that’s another story). Also, did you know that there are some sour starters that have been going for hundreds of years in France? I found that fascinating/frightening!

    And should you need it, there is a flour mill at the bakery in Cowichan Bay. ;). Also, I plan on making it through as well, so if you need help, I am more than happy to.

    Just stick to the blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries, salmon berries, and thimble berries and you’ll have pie that is just fine. And I don’t know how to render(?) lard, but I recommend sticking with butter anyway….oh gosh…hopefully the cows make it too!

    That’s all I can help with. (Sorry…when it comes to baking I have a hard time letting people just wonder when I can inform)

  2. Determine poisonous stuff: First rub on inside of elbow. look for rash if no irritation occurs, then hold very small amount on inside of bottom lip for a few minutes. If any numbing occurs, do not eat it to check if the numbing will continue on the inside of tummy. If its sweet and resembles a strawberry, snarf at will. I think i may have read that in a worst case scenario guide…

  3. I know someone who caught wild yeast by just swooping a jar around in the air in San Francisco (apparently the yeast in the air is good there?) and then closing the lid. Maybe there was some sourdough starter slurry in the jar too for the yeast to eat, or maybe they united the air with the slurry once they got back home, I don’t really know. Sort of makes you wonder. I mean, what if there were some other germies in that air that outcompeted the yeast and caused all kinds of problems?? Or do the bad guys not thrive on flour?

  4. Exactly, Meg. I wouldn’t be sure that the invisible yeast I “caught” wasn’t going to kill us all.

    Look how much interesting stuff all my friends know! Melissa—you are a baking genius!

  5. Pingback: What I'm thankful for right now. | Rachelle LeBlanc QuineyRachelle LeBlanc Quiney

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