Tuesday, June 5, 2012

5 June 1948 “Your Thrift Habits, In the Garden, and How to Make Short Pastry”

I may have shared this film with you before, but come along and learn how Ralph can teach Jack (and us) some common sense saving tips. In the modern world, unfortunately, the 0% interest rates do not encourage savings. One finds now it costs more to keep one’s money in the bank. But, we should learn from the smart aspects of the past and forgo the bad behavior our modern Federal Reserve and Spend Thrift government demonstrates to us.

ediblebouquet I call this my ‘edible bouquet’. You can see a cluster of broccoli, little radish seedling leaves, and the flowers from my arugula. This looks lovely and I keep it in water in the kitchen and cut off it for my meals. Why not enjoy your garden produce as art as well as food.

My little garden is coming along nicely this year. I downsized as we have the house on the market. I am now farming four 4 x 4 raised beds. One row of the picket fence around my veg garden also has some fennel, rhubarb, chives and onions. And my tomatoes and herbs are in pots on the terrace. If we decide not to sell or it doesn’t sell, next summer my garden will double, that’s for sure.

arugalabloom Here I caught this little insect pollinating my arugula flowers. You are not meant to let them flower, but they grow so fast and I simply hack them down and put them in my ‘bouquets’. They are edible and look lovely in salads. As long as I don’t let them go to seed.

Arugula is a wonderful salad green. It has an almost savory quality to it, rather like meat or slightly peppery. It is a treat fresh or also quickly pan seared with served with meat.

radish Radishes are the easiest thing to grow. From seed to food is mere days! The seeds are fine you simply sprinkle them close together and then as they sprout you want to thin them. And don’t they look wonderful all lined up in their loamy beds. Next to them are sprouting two rows of carrots.

 radishseedlingsThese thinned sprouts here, demonstrating they are radish by their lovely red and white roots, are delicious. They are milder than when they are full grown and go straight into salads. What doesn’t end up in my mouth of course. Even if you only have a pot on a window sill in the city, you could grow radish non stop for your summer eating.

radishseedlings2 I just loves the up close images of these so had to share a closer photograph. Aren’t they beaufitful?

 broccoli My broccoli is growing like a weed! In fact I let these bunches go a bet too far, as they are about to flower, but I rather like them this way. Again, salads or steamed or simply dropped on top of your grilled chicken for the last minute of cooking and its a dream. Fresh garden veg will always outside the Styrofoam over grown varieties at most major Super Markets.

snowpeas2Snow peas, or sugar snap peas, are another easy to grow crop. You start them early in the ground, they like a little cold. And while these are producing I have my lima beans starting on the same structure. When these are gone the limas will be going nicely and I will plant a second crop of snap peas in another spot this year. They are eat of the vine wonderful.

Some of the other fun plants in my garden this year include this Tesal plant (medicinal) the beautiful artichoke (the fern like one in front) and fever few and dill. The fever few is both medicinal and good in herbal teas. And we love artichokes here, so good and fun to eat, sucking each yummy morsel out of their little shells. Rather like the Lobsters of the Garden, really.

plants blueberries1 My blueberry bushes are brimming with a nice little harvest. And my graps are beginning their budding. The little flower clusters look like mini bunches of grapes.grapebloom These are a small seeded old variety, but the taste. When you eat these and compare them to the plum-sized hard and firm seedless market variety, you can really taste the difference. These old small seeded grapes taste like heaven and are as sweet as candy. Of course, I have to fight the birds for them, but enough make it to my kitchen to make me happy and every year the vine grows bigger leaving a bigger share for both of us.

As we are in the 1940’s today, I though I’d share this fun scan of making short pastry from the war time ministry of foods in Britain. Short Pastry, of course, is simply flour and fat. It is used for both sweet and savory.




I realize I am still rather lax in my posting. And as I said last post have begun to simply live more and research less. I still research, though, its simply part of my life now, but much more focusing on doing. I think I see myself and this blog moving in a new direction but still keeping the old values. I believe what I have done thus far has been a solid base and that I in no way see me abandoning it. My new project might be more focused on an outside source, such as an artwork project that goes for a year, that I can share but with still sharing my daily living and usual tips on living vintage.

The old ways are now simply My ways. I no longer see a differentiation between what I am trying to do and what is modern to do. I see the vast crevasse between how we live now and how we used to and I simply try to do more of the old ways, as they have become more normal to me. Though I am daily reminded (well not daily, many days I am happily at home blissfully ignorant of the changing world out there) of how much harder it is to simply be frugal.

As an example I was going to sell some homemade things this summer at my local farmers market. Now there are SO many laws set up to ‘protect’ us that the homemaker and small business starter has little chance to make it against the big guys. After I would get my kitchen inspected ($70 every year), pay to take a two day Serve Safe class (around $400), buy Liability Insurance (insurance the scourge of the modern man and the road block to cheaper prices for all and more money for the little man!)which is $550 a year, plus the food license for my town also required, another $60. All that before I even pay for the table at the Farmers Market or buy the ingredients.

At least in the Depression one could put out a sign and sell things no problem. Today the road blocks to self-sufficient money making are immense. And many of these ‘health precautions’ mean little to the large factories where chickens float in vats of bleach. Yet, if I wanted to slaughter my own home raised chicken and sell it to my neighbor I could literally go to jail for it.

It is hard, sometimes, living in the past when the present slaps one in the face at every turn. But, I try and shall endure as I hope all of you shall as well. We can do it, we past loving home bodies, but we must be craftier in how it is done.

Happy Homemaking.


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