The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough in literature

Portus's picture
Portus

Sourdough in literature

I recently had reason to look up a poem, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” by Roger Service, who spent part of his working life in the Yukon in the early 1900s.  He published several volumes of poetry (maybe doggerel is a more charitable description?), one being “Songs of a Sourdough”, which earned him over $100 000.  The ultimate verse of this poem reads:

These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.

They say that the stranger was crazed with "hooch," and I'm not denying it's so.

I'm not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two —

The woman that kissed him and — pinched his poke — was the lady that's known as Lou.

I will be interested to learn from TFLers if they have come across sourdough in any other writings, aside from those relating to bread, baking and the like, that makes similar, specific and rather charming literary references to hooch, sourdough, and anything else of a similar nature.

lesbru's picture
lesbru

Sourdough https://g.co/kgs/MwvkXP 

Haven't read this, but sounds tailor-made! 

lesbru's picture
lesbru

Sorry. That link doesn't seem to work, maybe because I did it on my phone.  This should do it.   https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/17/sourdough-robin-sloan-review   The book doesn't seem to be out for a few days, so it's hot off the press.

Justanoldguy's picture
Justanoldguy

Doggerel? Maybe. But it is four lines, a quatrain as it were. Just like this:

"Here, with a loaf of bread beneath the bough

A book of verse, a flask of wine, and thou 

Beside me singing in the wilderness

Ah wilderness is paradise enow"

You gotta figure a Persian tentmaker out in the sticks was ripping into a sourdough loaf and there's hooch too if you stretch the point.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Portus,  actually Robert Service wrote some very good stories and poems,  maybe his best known is the Cremation of Sam McGee, though I am a big fan of his war poems, which were the basis of an album War War War by Country Joe McDonald.   Jean Deprez and the Man from Athabaska  are two great songs - though not baking related.

Portus's picture
Portus

... I am now on the lookout for Robin Sloan's book; I had not heard of him.  Regards the Rubaiyat, of course, how could I forget!  Service has some parallels with Kipling, Owen and Brooke when it comes to war poetry of that era, but of these I suspect Kipling was a "jingoist" until his son was killed in WW1.