My mother is not here...
It's Mother's Day COVID style. It's not that I mind being home alone, but it should be appropriate that my children spend little time with me. I am, after all, the only mother they have. They may have had other women in their lives that meant as much to them like me, or maybe even more, but you cannot change who your mother is - can you?
Sorry, it's not so bad. There are FaceTime calls, and supper plans and a Sunday afternoon nap in the works. But, with the cold fierce wind and social distancing, I was missing my mom today in the worst way. So I made one. That's correct, I made a "grossmuther" doll as a surrogate mother/grandmother. She's lumpy and doesn't yet have a face or shoes, but she's wearing a dress from fabric my mother purchased when she was quilting. I inherited it. But, that's not all of the gifts from my mom and grandmother.
When Covid19 hoarding began, I said to JC, "aren't you glad I am prepared?" I had no immediate need to run to the store and buy toilet paper, flour and yeast. These are a few of the staples in my pantry, along with bleach, vinegar, sugar, oatmeal, coffee, whole grains for grinding, flax seed, etc. etc. etc.
My mother was a prepper, and my grandmother grew up in an era of preparedness. There was no running to town every time you are out of something. You either made due or didn't do it at all. My mother was also a master at opening up the cupboard and creating something to eat from whatever was available. I love to do that. There are times that I do get a little tired of similar dishes and make a list, go to the grocery store and have a party buying things I don't usually cook with. But for the most part, if push comes to shove, I would be able to create the things that my ancestors thrived on in the great Depression. We are sooooo much better off. Yet, we still complain.
I miss my mom more than I thought I would, so if you have yours around, tell her what she means to you today. I am so blessed to have my grandchildren close enough to see whenever I wish. Granddaughter Lucy and brother, Oliver, were out here a couple of weeks ago, just hanging out. We took a garden tour because it was much nicer a few weeks ago than it will be this week, ugh. I want to plant my garden so bad and I have to be patient because it's just not time.
I said to Lucy, "well, I didn't take a shower today, how does my hair look?"
She thought a moment and then said, "like a doll." And, you know what, she's right. My hair is like a Barbie Doll's hair. The more you comb it the wilder it gets. I have had to live with that nearly my whole life. I am sure wondering what it will be like when it's all over gray and even finer than it is today. My mom's mom, Emma, had fine white hair.
She used to pin it in circles on her head crossed with two bobby pins (for those of you who do not know what a bobby pin is... Google it). Before the whole family arrived for a holiday or church, she would pull out those pins and fluff it up and it looked kinda like my new doll's hair.
Oh, how I miss them and my Aunt Alice and a few other people who are "in a better place." And, without further rambling, I hold this in my heart - an old German saying, "until we meet again in heaven."
Have a wonderful Mother's Day.
PS: here is a post I wrote for Mother's Day in 2011 - it's cute and about my son.
Old cookbooks commonly included substitutions charts. Here are two for you to download for today's Main Street Eats program on Prairie Public Radio, Thursday, May 7.
Farmer's Almanac Handy Kitchen Charts
Better bread without sourdough
Keeping a starter can become a burden if you do not bake bread weekly. Fear not. There are plenty of great easy low-yeast ways to bake excellent tasting bread without a sourdough starter.
French bread is a great and easy way to make a plain loaf with or without a crispy crust. If you add more than the original four ingredients of water, flour, yeast and salt, it is no longer considered French bread
Using a longer rise time and some "steam injection" when baking, you can create a wonderful loaf of bread without the hassle of starter.
According to the Internet, "Bread was enormously important to the French people, that at the time of the French Revolution in the late 1700's, the average Frenchman was reported to have eaten three pounds of bread each day." (Bread History - French. https://www.abigailsbakery.com/bread-recipes/bread-history-french.htm)
French bread is baked in brick ovens place in and out of the oven with a peel. If you bake your own pizza you probably have a pizza peel in your cupboard.
A boule is simply the French word for round. You can bake loaves in any shape you wish. Long thin baguettes were developed in Vienna so the bread could be baked faster.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE FRENCH BREAD from The BEST Homemade French Bread Recipe at https://www.iheartnaptime.net/homemade-french-bread.
Bread baked in a covered cast iron casserole can resemble or even exceed a sourdough loaf. Using a slow-rise method gives you wonderful flavor and adding extras like cheese or olives will make you a super star in the kitchen. Oh, and there's no kneading.
Here's a recipe from https://joyfoodsunshine.com/easy-no-knead-bread/
You will need a 3.75-quart dutch oven to bake this loaf.
What is a CSA share?
American CSAs' humble start began in 1986 at two farms. Indian Line Farm in Massachusetts (https://www.indianlinefarm.com) and Temple-Wilton Community Farm (https://www.twcfarm.com) in New Hampshire offered produce by the box while family farms were still small family farms.
Despite changes in the landscape over the past 30+ years, these two original CSA farms are still thriving today. Both have established enduring legacies, even though they have confronted many challenges over the years.
Today there are about 12,549 CSA farms in the United States. North Dakota has at least 18 CSA farms offering veggies, herbs, baked goods, canned goods, eggs, meat and more.
Why buy a share?
Purchasing a CSA share helps farmers buy supplies and seeds during a time of no income. It also provides a barometer for planting certain crops by identifying a demand.
CSAs are small farms with more flexibility in the varieties planted each year. That means you may receive new vegetable varieties to include in your summer meals.
There's no middle man and less packaging in a share box, meaning farmers receive a larger portion of the profit. The produce is two to three weeks fresher than any transported to your local grocer. Usually, your box has been picked the day or morning before delivery.
The farmer is not the only person receiving benefits from your CSA purchase. Your family will be eating healthier local produce that can be grown organically. Most small vegetable farmers practice non-chemical growing. You will be receiving organic produce as a much lesser expense than your supermarket can offer. Your produce will also last much longer in your refrigerator because it is fresh.
CSAs develop relationships between farmers and consumers. The knowledge about farming and cooking with freshly harvested vegetables can be shared as the relationship between farms and families grows.
Most farmers experiment with different varieties and treating you to some wonderful new foods. Healthy soil means healthier food for you and your family. It's beneficial in creating a love for fruits and vegetables your children will pass on to their children.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.