A journal of our day to day; homesteading and homeschooling 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.
We are a family of four (with one more on the way), living in the Arctic Boreal Forest above Fairbanks, in the Interior of Alaska. I write about our simple life and trying to keep our life simple in a day when the typical American life is anything but. When I first started writing this blog I had a toddler and a baby and we were a growing homestead. I wanted to share our day to day and all the lessons we learned along the way, from mixing our own chicken feed to goat kidding season and cheese making. As our children have grown, home schooling has really taken over and I have had to examine every aspect of our lives to keep our days simple yet fruitful. These days you will still find me posting and sharing pictures of our chickens and garden, berry picking and salmon processing. I also hope to be writing about home schooling decisions and lessons as well as other interests and hobbies the kids and I explore. Reader interest and feedback is what keeps me writing, so please leave lots of comments!
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!