Forgotten Skills of Cooking

I have located a gem.  A treasure.

As I have blogged about earlier, I am “upping my game” this year.  I am planning menus in advance, trying new recipes, and adding more cooking skills to my repertoire.  For the most part, I have been trolling food blogs to find inspiration.  I have found plenty.  I have also taken new looks at books I already own–like Canning For A New Generation which I have blogged about here and here.

Here is a new book I invested in:  Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen.  My treasure was on the porch today when I came home.  Wow!

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It covers everything.  Really.  How to make butter, specific recipes for different kinds of kale (!!), different ways to prepare Jerusalem artichokes, making preserves, how to make your own sausages, the differences between cooking young chicken vs. stewing hens, recipes that show off the different qualities of duck and quail eggs, the meat cuts for lamb, how to make elephant ears, a whole chapter on foraging, making compound butters, and on, and on, and on.   A lifetime of information in one beautiful volume.  The writing is clear, the photographs captivating, and the information is limitless.  I will give this to every bride and groom that invites me to their wedding.

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The Orchard by Adele Crockett Robertson

I have never done a book review here on the blog, but this is not a review.  It is a glowing recommendation.  I found this memoir browsing the public library shelves.  This was a truly wonderful book.  It is a woman’s account of 2 depression era years she spent trying to save her family’s orchard after her father dies and the rest of the family pushes to sell the house and land.  Here is a nice review of the book:

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=444691074047&comments&ref=mf

If you are still reading this, you must be at least a little interested in the book.  I love agricultural memoirs, but this one was special.  It is very well written.  I found it especially gripping to read of all she went through physically and mentally.  Farm work is hard, hard work.   What this woman went through in regards to physical labor and mental stress is remarkable, but the fact that she did it all in a male controlled agrarian culture and during the worst financial crisis our country has ever known, makes it exceptional.

I have been known to kick and curse at a tiller I can’t get going or stomp up to the house because I need help but don’t want to need it.   I have pondered whether I would be able to live here without my husband, and I think the answer is no.  There is too much for me alone unless I had a lot of money to throw at hiring muscle—and this is not a commercial farm, just enough for us and some for the restaurant.   Guess I will keep my man around.  He comes in handy.

I will be forever in awe of Adele Crockett Robertson.