Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Staff of Life

This started out as a response to a comment left by a new blogger that I am having a lot of fun reading, Happy Housewife. I noticed that it was getting a little long for the comments section, so I decided to put it here for you all to read!

HH writes:
"Ooo.. It is lovely to see that people still make jams and jellies at home - yes, from scratch. You know, I-Mom :P, the USA is such a delightful spring of surprises for me! For one, not everyplace is New York or California or Texas. For another, not everyone buys 'freezer-microwave-dishwasher' type food!

I was almost coming to the conclusion that no one prepares home-made food in this country and prefers to eat upsized meals at Burger King. Never could understand how BK could pass off for dailyfare (all those calories and such boring stuff!)... but apparently, there are still people who make food at home. And find it normal! :-)

Here's a 'toast' to your healthful jam! :-))

Btw, do you also bake your own breads? I'd love to try. In my culture, we don't use a lot of bread - ours is a rice&wheat based cuisine - so I don't have a clue of even how to start! However, hubby&I love the varieties of bread you can buy here.

I'd love to try and bake something at home. Been using the oven for a month now and I am comfortable with it. Now I am ready to experiment with European/Western cuisine. Can you suggest a simple, but nice recipe?

I'd have tried the internet, but you can never tell if those are 'workable' - some of those turn out to be disasters! I don't want to risk my first attempt. Do you have any ideas?"


Ahh, HH, I do love to cook at home. Sometimes I feel too hurried to enjoy the pleasure of it, but I am slowly learning that my time is what I make it. I try my best to fall into the natural rhythms of the day, and not "punch a time clock" now that I am at home with my daughter.

I love to make jams and jellies! I live in a part of the country where it is still very common, amongst the older generations, to preserve your garden produce by canning. I had the good sense to learn this skill while young (although none of my brothers and sisters will can anything!), and I get to feel that giddy pride at the end of the growing season, when I look across my shelves to see rows of shining jars lined up.

As far as bread goes, I do bake my own bread, but I must confess that I usually use my bread maker. Not quite the same. I am reading a great book now though, brought to my attention by my lovely friend, thicketdweller, called "The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book". I must say that this is the best book that I have ever read on baking bread. It was published in 1985, but there is an updated version that just came out that has an added chapter on bread machines. Both are available online, but I just borrowed a copy from my local library. The first recipe in the book is called "The Learning Loaf", and it is a great place to start. I highly recommend it!

By the way, where do you live in the US? I'm here in the beautiful farm country of Ohio. This country is such an interesting place precisely because we have so many different types and cultures of people living here. We get a little of everything!
Feel free to e-mail me privately, (you'll find my address in my profile) if you have any other questions!

And if you are not HH, scoot right over to her blog and leave your bread suggestions. :)


Happy Housewife said...

Oh, I-mom, I am *so* touched!

It is very special, indeed, to be quoted like that, not in the comments-section, but in the actual blog. And so sweet of you to recommend my blog! I don't know if I deserve this much! {embarrassed}

I live in Michigan - yeah, mid-west too. :-)

I am slowly peeling off the layers of the corporate and glamorous America that we are all fed relentlessly on TV. There is more to America than Iraqi-policies. There is more to America than the Big Five financial companies (and their failed accounting systems). There is more than Mac-eating, NFL-watching, Beer-drinking people. There is more than stilleto-heeled divas hounded by papparazzi. Not everyone looks like Queen Latifah or Julia Roberts, or for that matter, Maria Bartilomo (of Wall-Street fame). This wonderful country isn't just about gay-rights and abortion-debates. Not everyone is a childhood rape-victim or a dysfunctional person.

I respect and sympathise with anyone with the real problems... I am sure they aren't dreaming it up. But I am also glad to see that there is really a lot more. There are normal people, with normal values, living normal lifestyle. What a relief!

People should really watch more than Hollywood and Saturday Night Live. Who knew that people like you existed, I-mom? New lessons, new discoveries, new people - and all so exciting!

impromptu-mom said...

Well, thank you! But I am hardly unique. There are scads of us "traditionalist" out there, we just aren't very exciting to the media types. That is, until they decide to do a scathing report on homeschooling, families, or moral values. Then, all of the cockroaches come out of the woodwork, and do their level best to find our dirt. lol!

But seriously, I do belive that there is a tide turning in this country. More and more people are realizing that the damage done in the last century to home, hearth, and family is something that needs to be repaired if we are to survive. I see it all over, men and women making a concious effort to put their homes and families at the center of their lives, instead of selling their souls and freedoms to the media induced, corporate enabled, hollow-promised greed frenzy. (do I sound a little jaded? lol)

Happy Housewife said...


I see your point about media-interest very clearly.

Btw, when you have the time/inclination, can you do a post on homeschooling? It is a concept that is unique to the West. Perhaps Europe has it too, but I haven't heard it so often from my European friends, as much as I've heard it from American friends. Just a thought... :-)

Bernadette said...

I use the "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book", too. My daughters love making bread and rolls, as well. I shall head over to Happy Housewife's place now--she sounds like a doll! I hope you don't mind that I used your icon on my last post.