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JAM house Krystal biscuits

Why Is Everyone Making Sourdough Starter?

The desire to create life

JAM contributor, Krystal Chang, shares some current insights and resources for staying at home including local restaurants acting as grocery stores for sold out market goods.

JAM house Krystal sister trees

An unexpected secluded nature walk found right inside residential West Los Angeles

Home for me is in the eastern end of Santa Monica, in a bungalow-ish one bedroom apartment with my husband. We have both been working from home for the last year, so we’re already used to that part of things, but adapting to the current reality is another story. Work for me is almost at a stand-still—events cancelled, projects put on hold. We are relatively safe and stable but I worry about what the world will be like after this, and how long it will take to get to ‘after this.’

The first three weeks of stay-at-home, my body was still processing everything. In this fourth week I am starting to feel more settled and more able to think through things. The past few years have revealed so many cracks and inequalities in the systems of society that it now seems like radical change has not only been fully proven to be desperately needed, but maybe even possible in this enormous break in time. What worries and depresses me more than the world changing after this is the world not changing at all.

JAM house Krystal nature photo

Hiking with family right before quarantine closing of trails

JAM house Krystal flower Marilyn Monroe

Flower at Marilyn Monroe's house

When the hiking trails were closed, that was the hardest to take. But we have been walking around our neighborhood and discovering new things close to home. An almond tree with fuzzy blushing fruits. Marilyn Monroe’s house!

I have learned to identify the birds I watch from the kitchen window—the red-headed ones hopping amongst the tiny purple flowers of the lawn are house finches; the bird with a black and slightly triangular shaped head, is a phoebe bird.

Like everyone else turning to gardening and baking in this time, I have: planted a cherry tomato plant, made a sourdough starter from scratch, made pancakes from the starter discards, made crackers and biscuits and scallion pancakes – the most carb-y days of recent times. Why is everyone making a sourdough starter? Is it the desire to create life in this time?

It feels like every statement needs the phrase “in this time” appended.

JAM house Krystal sourdough starter

Sourdough starter from scratch

A few years ago I got into Farm Twitter (see @herdyshepherd1, @TheMERL), and watching the videos of baby lambs and goats and calves is both cheering and soothing – a reminder that life moves in cycles, that the days will get longer and lighter, that the circle continues to a larger pattern outside of our current days.

Some bits of poetry for these times:

in those quiet, sometimes hardly moving times,
when something is coming near,
I want to be with those who know secret things
- Rilke

Freeom. It isn’t once, to walk out
under the Milky Way, feeling the rivers
of light, the fields of dark –
freedom is daily, prose-bound, routine
remembering. Putting together, inch by inch
the starry worlds. From all the lost collections.

- Adrienne Rich



Krystal Chang

Krystal Chang is a writer and designer of flowers, installations, and landscapes in Los Angeles. Her background in architecture and construction informs the spatial quality of her work. She creates bespoke florals for events and clients including Esters Wine Shop, Lunya, Design Within Reach, and Poketo. She designs landscapes for residential and commercial clients with a focus on native and sustainable gardens. Currently she is mostly thinking about food: what to get, where to get it, how to cook it, how to save it. Also, trying to work, reading, and tending to the care and feeding of too many indoor plants and a sourdough starter.
IG: @krystalchang

JAM in House contributpr Christina

Christina Graci is a lover of all things beauty, health and wellness. She has been busy in the industry for 15 years. She is currently doing lots of self care, cooking, and staying active, reconnecting with herself, partner and friends.

JAM in House baby photo wdad

Dedicated to dad

Thank you to my daughter, Imogen and husband, Jeremy, my mom and dad, my friends and family, my sister and brother, my JAM team and especially to all the doctors, nurses, volunteers, and people around the world risking their lives to help us all get through "in this time."