I really enjoy making things myself. Mostly food, though I like doing creative projects with cloth or wood or power tools, too, and you might find me writing about those on occasion.
This can mean making homemade tortillas, filleting and then salting and drying my own cod from the CSF, or trying to replicate something I really like to get at dim sum on a weekend. Amanda and I got to know each other making homemade butter and homemade sausage together. Even the idea of homemade junk food fascinates me – I have been unable to resist a homemade oreo cookie at a local cafe, made my own candy corn this weekend, frequently experiment with ice cream flavors, and am currently scheming to figure out whether I can make a homemade Doritos clone.
I do a lot of cooking with fresh, local, responsibly raised, seasonal ingredients. It’s not always very noteworthy – especially with the tasty vegetables from the farmshare and the amazing meat from the meatshare, I can steam some vegetables, sautee a little meat with a pan sauce, and boil some pasta and we have a more delicious meal than we deserved. I am also inspired by seasonal themes – sometimes the weather or a holiday just calls for making a particular traditional dish. Every Christmas Eve and Good Friday we eat a salt cod and potato stew. Most Fridays I bake challah regularly. When somebody is sick there must be matzo ball soup. At some point in the spring or summer we need to go on a picnic and make fried chicken, cole slaw, and potato salad. This year I couldn’t resist the sale on (non-responsibly raised, industrially produced) corned beef for St Patrick’s Day even though the only Irish roots we have are from living in our neighborhood long enough. Maybe next year I’ll brine my own and turn it into a project. My leftover bits of fish, chicken carcasses, or sad vegetables I didn’t get around to cooking usually turn into stock, and I like to make jam and pickles. I obsess about what I buy, and often get irrationally excited by it – there’s a farm growing ginger in western Massachusetts, and I’ve got some of it in my fridge!
I don’t feel like much of a farm wife, though I admire them. I occasionally fantasize about keeping chickens in my tiny urban backyard – my Italian neighbor whose own yard is devoted to tomatoes will either think I’m nuts, or want to trade eggs for tomatoes. Simple backyard maintenance is often beyond me, though, and I’m a lot more successful at cooking with the agricultural stuff than actually going to weed a garden plot regularly enough to keep the plants happy and water.
And of course, just eating the delicious things that came from around me makes me happy!