Wee Jimmy

We made it to the US (I highly recommend Icelandair if you do have to fly the Atlantic, by the way, if only for the incredibly civilised transfer arrangements between flights at Keflavik Airport) and with a two-week stay in the offing, obviously the first order of business was to get a sourdough starter on the go (One side-effect of blogging a couple of times about sourdough is that other sourdough-curious people occasionally make the mistake of asking me about it, and getting persuaded into giving it a try (see also: cycling)).

cow nose

“Have you been in close proximity to any livestock?”

Sadly, I couldn’t bring Jimmy-Carter-the-Starter with me to the States (the customs declaration makes it clear you shouldn’t have been recently handling livestock, let alone bringing in millions of live microscopic organisms in your luggage) so a new Jimmy needs to be created. That means unbleached flour and ideally untreated water, to allow all the yeast beasties to multiply. Filtered water would probably have been okay, but when the other half mentioned that the big brewery downtown used to have a tap where locals could fill up bottles with the water from their spring, that seemed like a much better option, if only for the Internet bragging rights.*

schmidts brewery


This being 2019 rather than 1979, the brewery tap has moved on somewhat (as has the brewery which now hosts upmarket housing and the misleadingly named Keg and Case market where you can buy mushrooms grown on the site (complete with logs) but not, as far as we could see, any actual beer). This is not just water, it’s The Drink and now comes out of a high-tech vending machine which accepts ApplePay because of course it does. Still, it’s only $1 for a gallon which seemed reasonable enough. We made the beginner mistake of not bringing our own gallon container, but the next-door cafe was happy to provide us with an old milk jug, and the precious water was secured.

filling the container

And appropriately labelled, in case anyone got confused.

water container labelled

New Jimmy is currently residing on top of the fridge awaiting its next feed and looking fairly hopeful so far. I will keep you posted with any exciting developments, or even – my blog, my rules – any crashingly dull ones, as they unfold.

Next stop, the State Fair.

* There’s something about sourdough that attracts a certain amount of one-upmanship. The next time someone flourshames me for just using flour from the supermarket, I’ll be able to hit back with my 35,000 year-old artesian well water.

3 Responses to Wee Jimmy

  1. I gather that the fares offered by Icelandair for through trips to N America permit you at no extra cost* to stop over up to a week in Iceland. That is definitely not long enough to ride the ring road, all 1,300km of it, but you could take a bus up to Akureyri and see a bit of the Trollskagi Peninsula or perhaps Myvatn or Husavik. Reykjavik is cool, but the “Golden Circle” is a tourist-soaked hellhole.

    *Apart, that is, from the eye-watering cost of everything once you leave the airport,

  2. Charles says:

    International sour dough, could this be part of a new, covert USA / Scotland bio trade agreement?

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Paul – unfortunately that’s no longer the case (we did ask)
    @Charles – we’d probably end up inundated with American sourdough instead

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