Yes, You Can Can (and Cook, Too)!

| 5/23/2011 1:32:06 PM

Tags: Sherri Brooks Vinton, Put ’Em Up!, preserving, canning, country skills, cooking, Storey Publishing,

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll kill somebody?” It’s often the first question I’m asked when I tell someone that I preserve my own food at home. I assure them that I won’t be taking the life of my nearest and dearest by feeding them. They just chuckle and shake their head and mutter some remark about my bravery or their ineptitude or a combination of both.

of course I can  

I understand. Canning is a craft that, until recently, had fallen quite far out of favor with home cooks and I’m sure this unfamiliarity coupled with the few pieces of task specific equipment it requires can make the process seem a little “dark arts.” But I also think these culinary willies point toward something bigger regarding home cooking — that all things “kitchen” are difficult and scary and you need a chefs coat to have any success there.

In the last 40 years food marketers have done a very good job at scaring us away from our own hearths by making them seem impossibly intimidating or at least an undesirable and déclassé place to spend time (unless “spending time in the kitchen” means eating take out at your imported granite island while admiring your reflection in your 6-burner Garland cooktop, but that’s a rant for another time). Maybe you’ve heard this joke?

Person 1: “What are you making for dinner?” 

Person 2: “Reservations!” 

It reflects the mentality that the smart person, the accomplished family, does not dirty one’s hands with the toil of cookery.

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