Content warning: This post discusses food and contains embedded tweets containing misogynistic and disablist language.
UPDATE: Want to know how it all turned out? I baked it and ate it. Here’s some more pictures and information.
I am making sourdough. I started the starter on Saturday afternoon, and it’s reached the point where it smells kind of yeasty, and now it’s looking like this:
It’s caused quite a lot of visceral horror, because I bunged something a little bit unconventional in the starter: yeast from my vagina. Here’s my recipe, so you know:
1 small Greek coffee-sized cup of plain flour
1/2 small Greek coffee-sized cup of water
As much vaginal yeast as I could scrape off a dildo I put in my vagina–my estimate is that there was about as much of it as would lightly coat a single tine of a fork, and no more.
- Mix the ingredients together.
- Cover in foil, leave
- The next day, “feed” it 1 small Greek coffee-sized cup of flour, 1/2 small Greek coffee-sized cup of water.
- Cover it back up
- Repeat the feeding
- idk what I’ll do next, I’m only on the third day.
It all started with a fatal combination of a slightly perverse sense of humour, a keenly scientific mind, and touch of the thrush. Waking up on Saturday with the familiar itchy burny fanny, I giggled to myself “maybe I could make bread with that”. And that ticked into, “well, I’ve always wanted to try making my own sourdough anyway” and then a “fuck, would that even work?” and then I got curious and the next thing that happened was I was scraping white goop off of a dildo into a bowl of flour mixed with water.
Then, obviously, I cracked open the Canesten and cleared up the source because itchy minges are miserable.
The next day, the Frankenstein within me–by Frankenstein, I mean the guy, not the monster (OK, maybe also the monster)–cheered. IT’S ALIVE!
It was a few hours after this that people started to really get disgusted. Below is a small sample of comments my little home baking project has received so far. This is important, people: please do not reply to or harass the tweeters: yes, you might want to defend me, but if you want to defend me or help me out, contribute to my Patreon, don’t pile on these people.
.@stavvers I think you’re confusing mental illness with feminism.
— The Web’s Sam Grady (@TheSamGrady) November 23, 2015
— The Web’s Sam Grady (@TheSamGrady) November 23, 2015
You dirty dirty bitch go lob yourself into the Atlantic please. https://t.co/qbDcTQGAZu
— Smithy (@_KrisSmith) November 23, 2015
…. and ~~thank you~~ for ruining bread for me. Just ew I can’t- https://t.co/eJmUiYFCiK
— that one ☭ (@Trbl3m4kr) November 23, 2015
Right that’s it. I’m going to bed. Or heaven. One or the other. https://t.co/1UtAlcuIuT
— Harry (@HarryMellor_) November 23, 2015
this is why nobody takes feminists seriously https://t.co/ZdRrRplOt8
— puta (@baldlnds) November 23, 2015
— Ben the Meme Elf (@BenGardner17) November 23, 2015
I just threw out the entire loaf of sourdough bread I bought today bc I can’t eat it w/o thinking of that girl eating her yeast infection
— sad dad (@asvpkitten_) November 23, 2015
So, it seems to have generated rather a lot of disgust. Far more than I expected, to be perfectly honest: I’d expected perhaps the odd “eww” and maybe even an “I wouldn’t eat that that”, but not this, the level of outright horror, as though I’d dismembered a litter of puppies and was posting selfies with a selfie-stick while doing it.
The more moderate people who want to maintain their sense of outrage at this go for what I call the hygiene excuse: they declare it’s disgusting because it’s unsanitary. And here’s the thing: that’s not necessarily true. It’s almost certainly no more gross than regular sourdough starter.
Making sourdough starter entails encouraging stuff that’s present in the flour and just sort of floating around in the air in your kitchen and on your utensils to grow. That’s what wild yeast is. If that idea sickens you, avoid all sourdough, because that’s what it’s made of, but remember, people have been making and eating sourdough for millennia, and the human race hasn’t died out yet. All I’ve done is add a little bit of my own yeast. It’s somewhere between a Type I and a Type II sourdough, because I’ve added a tiny bit of yeast to the mix, although only a trace amount.
“But candida albicans (vaginal yeast) isn’t for eating and will somehow make you sick,” you cry. Probably not. Like all bread made with yeast, once it’s cooked it’s not exactly going to go about colonising your gut with yeast. The biggest risk with using candida albicans for breadmaking is that it won’t rise–more on that later.
“But what about vaginal bacteria and all the other minging stuff that’s come out of your quim?” you ask, becoming paler and paler as you continue reading this. First things first, any bacteria which lives in your warm soft parts lives there because it likes to be warm. Body temperature warm. It dies outside of that temperature range. However, let’s assume for the sake of argument that my vagina harbours a strain of bacteria that thrives equally in the ~37°C environment of my cunt as it does at the ~22°C of my kitchen, inside a bowl of flour and water. Were this the case, it still wouldn’t matter. I’m making fucking bread. You cook bread. All of the bread will reach the bacteria-murdering threshold of >70°C for long enough to kill anything that had survived.
I did a little straw poll and it found that at least some of the people being disgusted by my cunt sourdough may have a poor understanding of food hygiene. At the time of writing, around 30% of people who answered said that they wash their chicken before cooking: this is a very bad thing to do. Washing raw chicken in water does nothing to remove bacteria from the chicken, and sprays a species of bacteria called campylobacter all over your kitchen where it can thrive and grow. Campylobacter is bad, and responsible for most food poisoning. It, like most other bacteria, can be cooked out, but not scrubbed off. There was a big awareness campaign on this last year, but it seems to have bypassed a worrying chunk of the population. I say this not to pick on chicken-washers, but simply to point out that there’s probably far grosser things going on in the food you’re eating than a trace amount of vaginal yeast. It’s also worth noting that a lot of what you think you know about food hygiene may not necessarily be true. Anyway, people do things differently, and as long as what you’re doing hasn’t killed you or anyone else you’re feeding, why should we judge it?
However, I suspect the vast majority of the utter horror about my sourdough isn’t anything to do with ignorance on food hygiene, but more to do with a general mistrust and horror at vag. I say this because I suspect if I were making my own any-other-thing-except-sourdough-using-vaginal-yeast, people probably would have just left me to it. Like this person, who made their own salami without fanfare:
@stavvers actually I did try to make salami in my shed… This is infinitely more dangerous, not a single person commented on it
— vardasnejonas (@vardasnejonas) November 23, 2015
This is what said salami looked like. I’ve made it a clickable link because it turned my own stomach a bit, and I’m the sort of person who is baking sourdough with bodily secretions.
Of course, there’s the distinct possibility that absolutely none of my own vaginal bacteria is actually growing within the sourdough. In fact, it’s probable that none of the yeast that is growing originated betwixt my thighs: again, there’s the aforementioned heat issue, and my kitchen is significantly cooler than my cunt. Furthermore, as also mentioned above, sourdough starters pick up wild yeast, so I have no real way of telling whether or not what’s growing is the vaginal yeast, or whether it’s just the stuff that would have grown anyway. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea for me to have prepared a control sourdough starter without vaginal yeast. I did not do this, and I regret it slightly now. So we’ll see what happens when it’s time to bake bread with the starter. I expect if there’s lots of candida albicans in it, it won’t rise so well.
It probably doesn’t matter that my sourdough may or may not contain any actual vaginal yeast. The very idea of it seems to horrify people more than enough. I suppose it’s a similar socially-constructed disgust that leaves a whole bunch of people repulsed by the idea of licking a pussy. Even the mere idea of a tiny trace of pussy in a massive loaf of bread is sufficiently vile.
There have been similar attempts at cooking with bodily secretions, and they’ve been branded art. There’s Toi Sennhauser, who brewed beer containing a tiny trace of vaginal yeast to ask questions about what we deem acceptable. There’s also Christina Agapakis, who has a background in biology as well as art, and is doing interesting things with cheese made from human cultures. I, however, do not consider my own project art. I consider it simply my own personal experimental baking. Again, this is perhaps why I’m so surprised at all the screaming: people weren’t nearly so freaked out when I spent a while eating pasta mixed with ketchup and henderson’s relish because I couldn’t afford much else (it’s quite a good pasta sauce, incidentally).
I’m also not doing it for any feminist protest type reasons, although I am very interested to note how many people are horrified at the very notion that something may have once been near a vagina–since time immemorial the “eww” response has caused a lot of trouble for those of us who have them (and a fair few women who don’t).
I’m also not doing this for any potential health claims, unlike the woman who cultured yoghurt from her own vaginal bacteria. I expect the final result of my endeavour to be maybe bread, with no miraculous healing powers–but also, no miraculous powers to cause sickness.
Any questions that my endeavour has raised were a surprising side product of this little culinary adventure, and I very much doubt that my baking project will finally settle the debate on the Vaginas Are Not Hideous Monster Caves side, because there’s far too much structural bullshit to take it all down that easily.
I’ll be updating periodically on my baking endeavours, including the final result. I will be using the hashtag #cuntsourdough. So, hopefully your curiosity is piqued. I know I’m excited to try whatever happens–in fact, watching the life that has sprung from my loins has finally made me understand why people want to have children (although I still prefer my sourdough starter: it’s lower maintenance than a child).
The next update to be posted on the blog will probably be if/when it’s in a state to actually bake bread with (or maybe I’ll try doing crumpets from my crumpet), although I’ll likely update more often on Twitter (@stavvers). Before you tweet me to tell me how disgusted you are, let me be clear about one thing: I fucking know. It turns out the world is even more grossed out about minges than I’d previously thought.
This post was made possible by my Patreon supporters, who are more than welcome to eat some of my cunt sourdough if they like, although they are equally welcome to not eat any. Thanks to my supporters, I’m no longer just eating crap, because I can afford a bit better. If I’ve horrified or intrigued you, or otherwise provoked a reaction, please consider supporting me.