Mary Faler's starter, the vital ingredient of sourdough biscuits and pancakes, is one of the traditional recipes of the pioneer West. Sourdough pancakes, hard to come by these days, were a mainstay of the country 100 years ago, and biscuits, rare in the rest of the world, have always been an indispensable part of American cookery. A sourdough starter is as well adapted to modern pack-trip cooking as it was to the covered wagon. When some of it is used up, more flour, water and sugar are added to the original mixture and it will keep on souring indefinitely. Mary Faler's own recipe for sourdough starter can be made for use at home. It should be stored in the refrigerator and used at least once a week. The starter can also be frozen.
� pound potatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry yeast
2 cups unsifted flour (approximate)
Cook potatoes in 3 cups water; reserve 2 cups of the water. Mash potatoes and add ? cup potato to the lukewarm potato water. Then add sugar, yeast and enough flour to make a "sponge." Cover and put in a warm place to work.
On the following morning pour off what is needed for pancake batter and leave the rest of the sponge as starter to be used later.
2 cups starter
2 tablespoons sugar
� teaspoon salt
� teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
Add other ingredients to starter and beat into a batter. Let the batter sit half an hour or longer. Ladle onto a very hot griddle or flapjack pan and cook like any other pancake. Stack cakes and serve with honey.
� cup starter
1 cup milk
2� cups unsifted flour
� teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
About � teaspoon baking soda
Bacon grease or vegetable oil and butter