This mad scientist, Regency-era biopic is lovely.

I tweeted this statement recently, after I wrapped up a day of cooking, prepping flour, starting half a dozen ferments and drying vegetables by knitting in my cross stitching chair (that I had reupholstered myself). In a long skirt.

I’ve had several moments like this in the last few months or so. When I was knitting on the train out to Lafayette, Indiana last August, I realized I was sitting across the aisle from an Amish family, the matriarch of whom I ended up having a long conversation with about sewing, embroidery and canning. It was a lovely moment and a great opportunity to share this experience with another human being that could relate to both the soothing process of creating something and the revolutionary feeling of building something myself rather than being sold something.

I feel best when I have a project that is consistently progressing. It’s a big part of why I work in so many different areas. When I wrote up my “plan of attack” for January (and, indeed, the whole year), one of the items on my agenda was to make a lot of cheese. This was kind of shorthand for all of my various culturing, fermenting, preserving, and cooking experiments. These things have kept me going when my energy began to lag during long-term projects. In the past few months, I’ve made the following:

– Ginger beer, 2 liters
– Blueberry ginger beer, 1 qt
– Tart cherry ginger beer, 1 qt
– Apple cider vinegar, 1 qt
– Kimchi, 2 pints
– Sauerkraut, 1 pint
– Indian-spiced cauliflower, 1.5 qts
– Lactofermented mushrooms, 1.5 pints
– Lactofermented hot peppers, 2 pints
– Pickled strawberries, 1 pint
– Apple butter, 1 pint
– Plum preserves, 1 pint
– Dried tomatoes, 2 pints
– Dried mushroom soup mix, 4 ounces
– Ricotta cheese, 12 ounces
– Whey, 2.5 pints
– Vegetable stock, 1 pint
– Chicken stock, 5 gallons

Not all of this works. Canning, preserving, making puree and fermented vegetables helps keep my pantry stocked and relieves the stress of finding myself without food at a time when I may also be without money or the will to leave the apartment. Occasionally, it makes conversing with other people easier.

I wish it made everything easier.

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~ by blackmoodcraft on November 29, 2014.

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