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April 26th, 2006

I’m back in a traditional work setting, complete with break room treats, never-ending coffee (which I don’t drink) and Avon catalogs on the counter.

And women who bake and like to share.

Today, I saw something I haven’t seen since my days at the Milwaukee Rep.
Starter for Amish Friendship Bread.

When the woman in the cube next to me saw it, she just rolled her eyes. I said it was all right. I knew what I was getting into.

For those of you who haven’t experienced it, this is a sourdough-based dessert bread. You squish it around in its plastic for a couple of days, feed it flour, sugar and milk, and at the end of 10 days you make a heavy loaf of quick bread, with nuts, raisins, and instant pudding. And you scoop a couple of cups of the starter to share with friends.

I remember this stuff. Good bread and very entertaining. For a month. After a month, you find you’re running out of friends. Everyone who wants starter already has a bag, and they’re out looking for victims, too. You are up to your ears in heavy baked goods, and the starter continues to grow.

You have a culinary cross between a chain letter and zucchini in August. And you’re afraid to stop baking because the recipe is warns you that if you let it die, you’re gonna have to find an Amish person because the recipe is secret.

Amish person, my ass. This stuff probably came down on an asteroid, like the Blob. If you want more, you could probably get some from the hundred people you palmed the stuff of on, earlier in the month. If you can get them to talk to you. But you can’t find them because they’re at home, baking bread and shoveling starter down the toilet.

So later this year, when my website is up and running, you might want to avoid the “Contest!” page. 1st place is a tub of Amish Friendship starter.

2nd place is two tubs.