Just before leaving for Guatemala, I needed to feed my starter, and knowing that I'd be gone ten days, I gave her extra food. This turned out to be an error. It makes no sense to force feed a starter. I wasn't making foie gras. A starter can handle just a certain amount of food at a time, and when I returned home, my starter was dense, heavy and smelling alcoholic. Not good. Now I am nursing her back to a healthy condition. It's better to enlist the support of someone you can really trust to care for your starter while you're away.