A Death in the Family

Posted:  August 29, 2020

It was a beautiful Saturday; the sun was shining and we had just crossed some boat chores from our list. Chris was fresh out of the water after scrubbing the hull, my galley was sparkling after a deep clean and we were sitting in the cockpit enjoying some lunch while talking about how excited we were that things were finally coming together; That’s when tragedy hit.

With Italian blood coursing through his veins Chris is prone to speak more with his hands than with his words, becoming an immediate danger to any object around him similar to how a cat is a magnet to knocking over any glass you have on the counter. As the excitement of our sailing plans grew with each sentence, Chris made a very grave mistake that was the final blow to a very dear crew member.

*SPLASH* We exchanged surprised looks and when Chris realized what he had done he jumped from the cockpit and ran to the starboard side of the boat where the splash had occurred. Almost afraid to ask I finally released the question “What was that…?” Chris looked at the water, then at me, then at the water again. “It was Han Doughlo.” 

For the past 2 months, we have been enjoying boatmade loaves of bread aboard Avocet as I have been experimenting with my sourdough starter, cleverly named “Han Doughlo” in commemoration of my love for Star Wars. Each day I took pride in feeding my starter, then set it outside in the sunshine where the yeast can soak up the warmth, doubled in size then gave me the opportunity to harvest the discard and create the most delicious loaves of bread. Han Doughlo was sunbathing when he was brutally murdered by my darling husband.

Chris looked mortified as the bubbles rose from the depths below Avocet. Speechless, we knew Han had drowned and there was no use attempting to rescue him- of all the days I decided to put cheesecloth on the mouth of the jar instead of a tight lid, this was bound to happen. 

There was nothing either of us could do, so I slumped below deck to begin the process of birthing a new starter. Chris followed close behind, tail between his legs, apologizing profusely. You see, I wasn’t necessarily mad at him, since it was an honest mistake… but I was pretty bummed out that I had no leftover discard or way of resurrecting the original Han Doughlo which left me no choice but to start from scratch. There was no use crying over spilled milk (or should I say, drowned starter) so I gave Chris a kiss and sat my new starter-in-progress outside, far from his reach. 

Although Han is gone, he will never be forgotten. I am thankful for all the wonderful loaves of bread that filled nourished our bodies and filled our cabin with the warm and comforting scent of fresh baked bread. A few weeks ago I was impressed with my newfound skill and had decided it was time to share the love. When my parents came to visit from Santa Cruz, I gifted some of my starter to my mom. Since then, she has been treating Han Doughlo’s offspring (I refer to the discard as Ryelo Ren…) very well, becoming a sourdough baker herself which leaves me very proud that my beloved Han will live on, even if it is not here with me in my galley. 

Chris, I forgive you and your excited hands. Maybe if we had our Bulwark installed, Han would still be with us today. Fingers crossed the wood arrives soon so we can prevent another tragic death from occurring. Hopefully, Poseidon accepts our accidental offering, and the fish will enjoy the remnants of my dear Han. My Kombucha Scoby will dearly miss its counter companion but with any luck in a few days another will be born. May you Rest In Peace Han Doughlo. May the Toast Be With You. 

Han Doughlo

Beloved Starter, Counter Companion, Crew Member. Forever in our Hearts, and Stomachs.

July 6th 2020 – August 29th 2020

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