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My Mother, My Starter

How saving a sourdough starter took on the shape of grief

Left, photo by Kylie Jo Cagle. Other photos by Kerri Conan

Before popping the top to take a whiff, I stood lit by the open refrigerator and turned the cold jar in my hands. I’d just returned home from two months at Mom’s bedside, helpless to keep her alive. And now my starter and I are weepy globs, a shadow of our bubbly selves, oozing the strong smell of alcohol.



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Kerri Conan

Cookbook developer, longtime Mark Bittman colleague, home economics advocate.