I woke up to a glorious morning. It rained yesterday and so this morning was an array of glistening leaves, dew-dusted blades of grass, and that wonderful smell of a Spring drizzle. I love it. I have hopes of actually making it outside today since yesterday was what I like to call 'Day of the Kitchen'. Oh yes, it was one of THOSE days. I spent every minute of the day either chopping, stirring, shaking, grating, fermenting, baking, and preparing food for the young ones. I'm not complaining mind you, I love to cook. It's a good thing too since I spend so much time doing it. There are many reasons why I love to cook which brings me to the reason for this post.
Here is where I do my confessing.
I love to cook because I LOVE to eat good food. It is one of my favorite things to do. Eating that is...no cooking...hmmm, both? There are several reasons however why I enjoy my time in the kitchen. I have come to the conclusion and conviction recently that I want to feed my family well. Not only should our food taste good, but it should also be good for us. I no longer wish to eat just to eat. There's no reason for that. Sure I could probably spend less money on groceries by using coupons for everything and not choosing to buy organic, but I am looking to the future. Will we thrive on prepackaged, boxed, processed, and essentially cheap food for long? I don't think so. I do know that if I cook from scratch it will help A LOT in the grocery bill department and health department. I also know that our garden that we're growing and animals that we're raising will help as well.
It is my conviction that God made our bodies in a most amazing way. We truly are 'fearfully and wonderfully made', and since I believe this I wish to feed my family and myself with the most nourishing and whole foods as possible. In this past year and a half I have been on a search for a better way of eating. I am not interested in fad diets or those that cannot give our bodies all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and so on that we require. In my search, I have come upon traditional eating and I think it is the way we were meant to eat. Meat, fat, fruits, vegetables, grains properly prepared, dairy, and fermented everything. When you decide to cook this way you are deciding to take it upon yourself to make almost everything from scratch. It takes time, work, and energy. Time that I think is very well spent. This may not be what everyone wants to do, but it is my desire.
I grew up cooking and baking with my mom, but my love of cooking wasn't ignited there(my mom is a great cook, so it didn't have to do with her skill...she was great in the kitchen). I really didn't care much though in my younger years about food. I would have to honestly say that my love of cooking was fired up when I went to work for a good friend. I came home from being away for a year and got a job at a coffee shop. This was not your ordinary coffee shop. We made coffee (and good coffee at that), but we also made breakfast and lunch. My boss-turned-friend Terri taught me to love to cook, gave me confidence in the kitchen, and imparted her wisdom of cooking using your senses and not always be tied down to a recipe. If I wanted to keep up with her then I had to watch her closely, learn her tricks, and duplicate her recipe's using my taste buds as a reference. I LOVED IT! Terri taught me how to make soups, sauces, bread dough, and so much more. I am eternally grateful for the impact she had on my life and for instilling the love of the kitchen and all things homemade to me. I'm pretty sure my hubby thanks her too!
Fast forward to now, almost 9 years later, my love of cooking hasn't waned because I still find it fun and challenging. I've always cooked from scratch, but when you become a REAL foodie, it brings a whole new meaning to homemade.
Yesterday in my kitchen there were many things taking shape. I started the day with some sourdough bread made with spelt flour. I purchased this book a while ago and it teaches you how to make bread using natural yeast and not the highly processed commercial yeast you find in the store. Sourdough is especially good for you since the fermentation process breaks down the hard to digest parts of the grains and makes the vitamins and minerals that are present more easily absorbed. A plus in my book and I also happen to love a good sourdough over any other kind of bread. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the buttered slice later today (it's doing it's second rise). I consider bread making to be highly therapeutic and so I enjoy the making, kneading, and eating process. Especially the eating...
Next up on my list was to get my other ferments going. I make Kefir everyday and it is truly the easiest of the bunch. Just pour milk (we drink raw) over your grains, set in a warm place for 12-24 hours, strain the grains from your kefired milk, and voila you have a delicious probiotic beverage that boasts 30+ healthy bacteria that will benefit and aid in healthy digestion. We are all about optimum digestion on the farm and so I try to get as much of the 'good bugs' in us as possible. Which leads to Kombucha. I make about 2 gallons of kombucha every two weeks. I let it ferment longer because I heard it helps the mother and baby scoby's to be stronger. I really enjoy the process and get downright giddy when I see the mother hovering underneath the newly formed 'baby'. It's a thrill for me. My kids beg for kombucha. I love to hear Ella ask for it because she shortens it. "Mom, can I have some bucha?" Music to this mama's ears.
My biggest task of the day was rendering 'Little Miss Suet'. In reality, she wasn't pretty to look at, but she'll sure make my cooking taste nice and delicous. Suet is the fat that surrounds the kidneys of cows, sheep, and pigs. This lovely was from a cow. Rendered suet has an extremely high smoking point which means it doesn't easily burn, can be used for all my cooking and baking needs, and retains most if not all of it's nutrients during the cooking/baking process. It's downright cheap as well. I paid $15 for the hunk of goodness and got almost 4 quarts of rendered fat. I'm sure I'm only going to have to do this process maybe twice a year. It has a long shelf life in the fridge and is highly economical. How many of us can say we paid $15 for any kind of cooking oil that will last this long?
With my return to the farm I have had many conversations with my husband and many a quite time spent musing on the blessedness of this kind of life. It may not be for everyone, but it sure affects everyone. We all need to eat. Not to get off on a tangent though...
Lately I have been wanting to emphasize to my kids the blessing of having food to eat. It can be taken for granted that we can almost always count on a good meal. It is a blessing from God and one not to be taken lightly. I want to please the Lord with all that I do, and I think it would be pleasing to Him for me to take the time and effort to cook for my family in a way that will nourish their bodies and minds.
So here's to being a REAL foodie.
I'm off to go drink me some bucha. *wink, wink*