A journal of our day to day; raising dairy goats, chickens and children in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Friday, April 1, 2011
My kitchen, and stuff
I love my kitchen. I cook at least two meals from scratch a day, the other meal is usually leftovers or something simple. I make our bread weekly, fresh cheese, yogurt, dog food and all sorts of snacks, not to mention canning and preserving in the summer. Everything has its place, everything has a purpose and just a couple things are solely ornamental.
Cooking is a sensual practice for me. The ritual of making a meal begins with pure ingredients, my bare hands and simple tools.When we think of cooking, seeing and smelling food is a given. Knowledge and labor are both required. Enjoying the process is not essential, but it sure helps. It is the act of scooping chunky sea salt with my bare hands, chopping vegetables with my sharp chef knife in just the right pattern that makes all the onion chunks fall apart at the last minute in equal size, and stirring, enjoying the way my wooden spoon curves to fit my hand, that makes the process of cooking sensually rewarding and therefor a soothing task.
A quality tool is both functional and beautiful. As much as I appreciate my mixer for reducing the time I spend kneading- I don't enjoy it as I do a roomy wooden bowl with plenty of room for tossing or a nice piece of pottery with a snug fitting lid. While I'm still enjoying being in my kitchen, before I am too busy to keep it tidy, I thought I'd share some of my favorite kitchen sights. Above left is an oil and vinegar set I made several years ago. One of my few rarely used items. On the right is my sugar dish made by a fellow potter.
Herbs, rosemary, basil, mint and oregano - not located in the kitchen but used frequently.
Wooden spoons and salt vessels. Have I ever admitted my love and addiction for various types of salt? On the left is coarse sea salt with fine on the right. There is a big price difference, so I use the coarse for soups, boiling water or surface texture. I have at least a half a dozen other types of salt on hand; non iodized salt for pickling and cheesemaking, fleur de sel sea salt, coarse red and black salt from Hawaii and a few other packages of salt I've picked up while traveling. I love quality ingredients in general. They don't need to be expensive in price, just not cheap in quality. Fresh, pure, simple, local when possible, seasonally when possible.
Here's to enjoying the simple things that make the process more enjoyable, whether it is cooking with your favorite wooden spoon, painting with your favorite brush or just using the perfect tool for the job.
I am a stay at home mom taking care of our two young children, a small herd of dairy goats, chickens, ducks and at times various other critters. We are trying to produce as much of our own food as possible on our eight and three quarter acres of boreal hillside forest. We milk our goats, drink raw milk and make cheese. We raise enough poultry to meet our egg and chicken meat needs. We are working towards growing enough vegetables in our short season to get us through our long winters. General interests include: herbal medicine making, preserving food through canning, dehydrating, juicing and lacto fermentation, baby wearing, cloth diapering, yoga, making my own lotions, cosmetics, home cleansers and anything else I can think of. Someday I'll make time for: ceramics, spinning, weaving and painting.
The here and now of our homestead is what I'm writing about. Compelled by a sense that we are participating in something significant, heading back to our roots... this is my attempt to share what we are learning along our journey. For those of you on similar paths, whether you are raising kids, a flock of chickens, a couple goats or run a farm, well I'm hoping to learn from you as well, so feel free to put in your two cents!