Monday, August 27, 2018

Sourdough Avocado Toast #CooktheBooks #FoodieReads

Debra from Eliot's Eats is our Cook the Books hostess for this round (August-September 2018); she chose Sourdough: A Novel by Robin Sloan.* If you want to join us, posts aren't due till the end of September. You have plenty of Debra's invitation here.

So, let me start with this: I read this book twice. It's a quirky, breezy read and both times I raced through it in just a couple of hours. But I didn't really care for it either time. More on that in a bit.

I first read it back in February when I didn't love it, but thought that I would be inspired to finally tackle making my own sourdough bread. I had over six months after all.

Then, I read it again on our annual family camping trip in July to refresh myself on the story and mentally prepare for attempting to make my own sourdough when we returned from the wilderness. Flash forward another month and I have still not tried to make a sourdough starter much less a loaf. But let's get back to the book...

On the Page
Lois, a newly hired software programmer at a robotics firm in San Francisco, is so consumed by her job that she subsists on nutritive gel and soup and bread - Double Spicy - that she orders from a delivery service. When the company goes out of business due to immigration issues, the two brothers leave Lois their sourdough starter and a brief introduction on how to make the sourdough bread. Lois progresses from baking novice to landing a spot at a local underground farmers' market, the fictional, fantastical Marrow Fair.

The most intriguing parts to me involved Lois learning how to bake.

"Forty minutes, four songs, and three beers later, the timer beeped. I opened the oven door and pulled out the rack to assess the damage. Against all odds, the malevolent loaf emerged from the oven round and buoyant, its crust split by deep fissures. It was perhaps not as perfect photogenic as the one of the cover of the bread book, but it was...not too bad" (pp 40-41).

"Baking [compared to programming], by contrast was solving the same problem over and over again, because every time, the solution was consumed. I mean, really: chewed and digested. Thus the problem was ongoing. Thus, the problem was the point. On Tuesday morning, I baked eight more loaves" (pg. 69).

So, it is worth reading? I would say that it started off as an adventure that ended up feeling flat and unsatisfying in the end. It was a cute premise that just didn't work for me. But I have read some nice reviews of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel, Sloan's first book. So, I might pick that one up eventually.

On the Plate
Needless to say: I still have not attempted to make a sourdough loaf. Maybe one of these days. But this is not that day. I'll keep you posted on any baking adventures in the future. For now, I used a pre-made sourdough and used it as the base of one of my favorite breakfasts - avocado toast!

Sourdough Avocado Toast

Ingredients serves 4
  • 4 slices sourdough (I used a local micro-bakery bread)
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • flake salt
  • dried chile flakes
  • organic lemon wedges for serving
  • olive oil for serving

Toast bread and place on individual serving plates. Cover bread with avocado slices (half an avocado per toast). Sprinkle with flake salt and dried chile flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and let diners squeeze lemon over the top to their tastes. Serve immediately.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

I am also linking this up to Foodie Reads.
Here's what everyone else read in August 2018: here.


  1. Can you believe I just recently tried avocado toasts and now I crave it! I loved the book but am having a hard time trying to write a review of it for my post. I did start my sourdough and have even made something with it! As for Mr Penumbra's..., I'm a little over 3/4 of the way through it and am having a hard time finishing it. :(

  2. Your avocado toasts look delicious-- and very generous with the avocado. Obviously, a result of making them yourself. When restaurants offer avocado, they are often incredibly stingy!

    As for the books (Sourdough & Mr.Penumbra) -- I really enjoyed both of them! Reactions do differ a lot.

    best... mae at

  3. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who chickened out LOL....Great second option Cam.

  4. mmm...avocado toast! Great idea for using sourdough!

  5. Camilla -- I so love avocados that this idea of using on sourdough toasts was pretty compelling. I have to say I read this book all the way through and really enjoyed the quirky twists and turns. Not having the courage to bake bread, I tried to take a creative u-turn with my own post

  6. Great choice of recipe! When I am not in California, I realize how used I am to good avocados. They are good on their own and great as an ingredient of many recipes. Avocado toast makes the fruit shine. Now I am craving some :)