Last night I was so worried about my boys having Covid that I totally forgot to put my sour dough into the fridge to prove over night. When I woke up this morning the dough had ‘grown’ all over our stove. My immediate reaction was to sink into despair and give up. I began to contemplate the unimaginable horror of a day without sourdough.
After a while I thought, ‘what the heck’, scraped it all up, whacked each ‘loaf’ onto a tray, and baked as usual. I couldn’t believe the result … two beautiful loaves, plus one extra mini loaf (because the dough had expanded so much). Thank goodness I didn’t give up.
It got me thinking about salvaging mistakes. As soon as I looked at the news this morning I was confronted by lots of mistakes that needed to be salvaged.
We all make mistakes and the current decline in planetary health is an accumulation of the many mistakes we’ve all made for a very long time. But the extraordinary inventor Thomas Edison once said:
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
So, with the gung-ho spirit that got me scraping up the sour dough and baking it to just see what might happen, I decided to tackle another of my mistakes.
Because I’ve been a little busy lately, I hadn’t quite gotten around to planting my potatoes. Leaving potatoes in containers around the house for months at a time, is definitely not a way that works. They’d turned into triffids, with long appendages, growing like my sour dough. I knew if I left them much longer they’d just rot and I would have lost their genetic diversity and capacity to feed my family.
This cool wet weather hasn’t been great for tomatoes, but it’s perfect for potatoes. And potatoes are one of those vegetables you can grow in a wildlife-compatible garden that doesn’t need to be netted. They’re a staple in our diet that we just harvest as needed.
In under an hour I untangled all the potato plants and removed any that looked diseased. I then divided them into at least 6 varieties – excellent back-up in case some don’t like current weather conditions.
I then whacked them into any place I could find, digging deep holes so that their appendages were mostly underground. They thrive particularly well in piles of wood chip.
While I looked for spots to plant them, I also found purple congo potatoes ready to harvest. It prompted me to harvest some sage and broad beans so that I could use the potatoes to create another locally-grown packaging-free dinner.
Purple potato gnocchi with broad beans in sage cream sauce
A few days ago I turned our slightly out-of-date cream into yoghurt and it worked perfectly for this sage cream sauce … that yoghurt was another salvaged mistake.
Interestingly, all these mistakes have been the result of neglect – neglecting to put the sour dough into the fridge, neglecting to plant the potatoes when I should have, and neglecting to use the cream before its use-by date.
Today I resolved to try to be more ‘mindful’ and to act early enough to avoid mistakes in the first place.