The sourdough self-starter

The Rhymes With Orange strip of 5/9/21, with a play on two senses of self-starting (and self-starter):

(#1) The strip illustrates the noun self-starter, very roughly ‘an independent go-getter’, which has a derivative adjective self-starting; but the strip is about making sourdoughs, which come in two types, the first of which is said to be self-starting (in its fermentation), while the other type needs a push from baker’s yeast to ferment properly

So: a kind of pun — indeed the best sort of pun, in which the meanings of both of the expressions involved (whether homophones, as with self-starter (and self-starting) here; or merely near-homophones, in “imperfect puns”) apply to the situation in the joke or cartoon. In #1, the sourdough is a self-starter both in the go-getter sense (through the miracle of personification, in which the dough is a human-like being) and, since no yeast is required, also in the self-starting sense.

Go-getters and go-getting. From NOAD:

noun self-starter: 1a person who is sufficiently motivated or ambitious to start a new career or business or to pursue further education without the help of others: he was the self-starter who worked his way up from messenger boy to account executive. 2 dated the starter of a motor-vehicle engine. DERIVATIVE adj. self-starting.

Self-starting fermentation. From my 10/22/15 posting “Bread play”:

The noun sourdough. Start with the foodstuff, which has a fascinating history, compacted here from the Wikipedia article:

Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally-occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Sourdough bread has a mildly sour taste not present in most breads made with baker’s yeast, due to the lactic acid produced by the lactobacilli. Sourdough bread has better inherent keeping qualities than other breads due to the lactic acid bacteria it contains.

… Traditional San Francisco sourdough is a Type I sourdough. Type I sourdoughs are generally firm doughs, have a pH range of 3.8 to 4.5, and are fermented in a temperature range of 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F). Lactobacillus sanranciscensis was named for its discovery in San Francisco sourdough starters,

… In Type II sourdoughs, baker’s yeast or Saccharomyces cerevisiae is added to leaven the dough

… Writing in the Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology M.G. Gaenzle writes “The origins of bread-making are so ancient that everything said about them must be pure speculation. One of the oldest sourdough breads dates from 3700 BC and was excavated in Switzerland, but the origin of sourdough fermentation likely relates to the origin of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent several thousand years earlier…

… French bakers brought sourdough techniques to Northern California during the California Gold Rush, and it remains a part of the culture of San Francisco today. The nickname remains in “Sourdough Sam”, the mascot of the San Francisco 49ers.

Type I sourdough is, yes, self-starting, while Type II needs a push from baker’s yeast or a similar agent.

Sourdough starter. As it appears in the literature on cooking and eating. One of the reference books:


And then the jokes on self-starter, as in #1. And in this Zazzle design, which comes in wall art of various kinds, as well as on pillows, coasters, trivets, etc.:



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