HOMEGROWN Life: A First Lesson in Homemaking

| 10/14/2013 10:16:00 AM

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” — Confucius

Happy autumn, friends! I don’t know about you, but fall is my “come alive” season. While I have a huge appreciation for all seasons (if a slight dislike of winter), autumn has always been my favorite. I love the changing leaves, the apple spice everything, and the smell of fireplaces being coaxed back to life. I’ve even bought my first pumpkin!

apple pieThis time of year, I’m pulled into the kitchen even more than usual. I’ve already baked my first apple and pumpkin pies, as well as copious amounts of rustic seeded bread, and I’ve purchased my second hot water canner to increase my output. I’ve also begun to find importance in sharing some of my skills with younger people, and I implore you to do the same.

I spent yesterday with a young woman (she’s 19) going over some basic domestic skills. For one reason or another, she wasn’t given the opportunity to learn these things from her own mother and now has moved into her own place and is struggling a bit. I hadn’t given much thought to someone not having any domestic training. I took my own “training” from my parents for granted, I suppose. But, if you think about it, a lack of domestic training can keep someone from making a house a home, knowing how to bake, how to cook, how to set a table and be a good host.

My first stop with her was Goodwill, where we picked up a ton of basic kitchenware and discussed the importance of budgeting and buying used, when appropriate—recycling at its best, after all! We moved on to cooking and made homemade macaroni and cheese. In the process, she learned how to make a roux and temper an egg, both important for avoiding ruined recipes down the road.

We made fast homemade mozzarella so that she could learn how to turn a $3.50 investment of milk into $20 worth of cheese, an excellent skill for young people on a budget. We then talked about how that big ball of mozzarella can be used in meals over the next few days to really make it stretch. Then we made a quick apple pie with a store-bought crust, and I explained that even the most accomplished home cooks have some cheats to save time and cut down on stress.

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