I’m in My Kitchen… Come on In!

Oh, I love food. And I love how celebration includes feasting. But this Thanksgiving had me chewing on my own food control issues and ingratitude when it comes to feasting. I have places in need of healing right along with my son Ari. As I turned to second pieces of pumpkin pie with near panic, I began to gain solid understanding why Kimberlee Conway Ireton in The Circle of Seasons speaks value into some form of fasting in the dark waiting of Advent.

Because Advent is a season of preparation and penitence, fasting has historically been part of Advent observance, a way to clear away the detritus of the year and create space in our lives for Christ to come.

I love that idea of making space for Christ through fasting. Where there may be grabbing panic in my eating habits — Quick! Cram it down so nobody sees! — there can perhaps be a new emptiness. And that emptiness can turn me to the One who fills.

But there is hardly a shortage of food around our house. Oh, my! We hardly have places to store it all! As I plan and prepare meals and snacks to nourish our bodies between these times of feasting, I am finding a new gratitude in the preparation. It’s probably even more exciting than pumpkin pie.

Do you want to step into my kitchen for a moment? Our woodstove in the living room is warming up the whole place, and I’ll light a candle for you to cut the dark of these December days.  Do you like chai, yerba mate, chamomile tea? I’ll set the kettle to boiling while we take a peek around at what I’ve been up to:

Cortido! (Spicy, Latin American sour kraut) I just got my first batch of this packed into jars tonight, so it can ferment for a few days before it moves to the refrigerator.  When it’s done, it’ll be delicious eaten on salads and sandwiches, or — my favorite way — straight out of the jar. How can such a party in the mouth be so soothing for the stomach?

Sprouts! This alfalfa, radish, lentil, red clover seed mixture has just started sending out tiny little sprouts. Making sprouts at home is so easy, I can hardly say I’ve been making them at all. It’s food so fresh it’s still growing!

Soaked, dried almonds! I used the Healthy Home Economist’s method for soaking and drying almonds, and I’m loving it. Last week I concocted some sweet almonds with honey and salt, and tonight a plain salted batch is drying in my newly calibrated oven. Who knew I could turn my oven into a dehydrator?

Coconut milk! I really love the taste of commercially produced coconut milk, but it just strikes me funny to be drinking added ingredients like evaporated cane juice and carageenan. So I made my first successful batch with just coconut and water, amazed at how cheesecloth so beautifully strained out the coconut pulp.

Soap! Even though we decided not to eat it, hopefully we can nourish our bodies with the Holiday Spice Soap I made with Isaiah last week. While I confess I started off my soap-making with too complicated of a recipe for my blood, I think it’s going to be okay after all. It’s terribly exciting to be making. soap. It’s all set to curing on my laundry closet shelf.

Whole chickens! The herb roasted whole chickens featured on Pioneer Woman’s website have been knocking my socks off lately. We usually prop up a seasoned whole chicken on a beer can and grill it, which is mighty tasty too, but the combination of lemon, garlic, onion, and herbs in our newly found recipe is to die for. I always boil my chicken carcasses for broth, and these chickens have made the best ever. I love having plenty of broth for winter soups.

Now, you can’t tell me food like that isn’t exciting! For me, it’s a welcome alternative to my traditional Christmas cookie baking marathon. And I just got something like 50 pounds of apples from Azure Standard today, so I can already smell some applesauce cooking in the coming days.

  1. I’m pleased you are enjoying the scent of your curing soap. That is a bit of tricky recipe to start with (smile) by the way, I tend to keep things simple myself.

  2. PS. I just realized who you are. I know you. That makes me happy. And I love what you’re cooking in your kitchen. Can I come visit? (and eat?)

      • clbeyer
      • November 29th, 2012

      Yes, please, Renee! I’d love to have you at my table! Thank you for inspiration after inspiration toward family education, soap-making, and enjoying nature. You’ve blessed my life!

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