Saturday, April 12, 2008

Something Funny Just Hit Me

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the family room reading, in our most prized possession, a recliner that is just so comfy and perfect that we all fight over it and lovingly refer to it as "the womb." What was I reading? I was actually reading Canning and Preserving For Dummies, a book I purchased today for further study on the art of canning. I have decided to learn to can and preserve in abundance, like my Grandma Freed did, to further help our family stock up. One of my most favorite memories is sitting in my Grandma's kitchen while she cooked tantalizing meals and baked mouth watering treats for our family. She made it look so easy and she did it with such confidence and ease. She always let me help, and over the years I learned so much from her, first standing on a chair to reach the table to roll and cut dough and eventually standing next to her at the kitchen counter as she guided me through the perfect raised dough cookie or some other equally amazing treat. My Grandma is gone these many years now, but I still have the love of cooking and baking that she instilled in me, and I still make many of the same treats and meals that she taught me. So, it was with thoughts of her that I decided to begin teaching myself to can and preserve, just as she did when I was a child. I began to remember the pickles and peaches, the cabbage and beets, and I found myself wanting to create these same delicacies as well as adding some new ideas of my own. I decided the best way to learn was to begin researching the idea on the internet, as well as beginning to ask questions of my friends who preserve and can. After a lot of research and fact finding I decided to purchase a pressure canner and canning supplies. I found new, half priced jars at the hardware store and I stocked up. I decided the next thing that I should do was to begin to read as much as I could about canning, as it is a precise science to avoid illness. I started by reading The Ball Bluebook Of Canning and I am now reading Canning and Preserving For Dummies, both of which are full of wonderful step by step instructions and recipes. I have decided that next weekend will be my inaugural trip to the Farmer's Market for my produce and I will begin with jam. As I was sitting and reading my Dummies guide and making notes, I started to wonder how did Grandma learn to can and preserve? Since I know that there were no Dummies guides in the 1920's when she and my Grandfather married and maybe just one book on canning, I pondered this mystery. I realized that she had been canning since she was a child and it must have been her Mom, my Great-grandma Ackerman who taught her and probably her many aunts and cousins. And then it hit me...and it was so think that I am learning to can and preserve from the internet and books! Why, where has this world gone, when a person no longer learns to do basic home making tasks from other family members but from outside technical sources. I had to laugh because I started to think about this in other home making areas and I realized, my Grandma had no books, no guides, and certainly no internet, but she learned all the same. So I hope Grandma is watching over me as I begin this new journey into re-discovering one of her many wonderful home making skills, but I do it in a modern way, my way. Thanks Grandma Hoffnung der Dank Großmutter I bilde ich Sie stolz


Donna said...

So many of the home arts have been lost. I am glad that we are working on preserving (pun not intended :) )them with our children.

Beth said...

I agree. I wish now that I'd paid much more attention to my grandmothers when they babysat me instead of plopping myself down in front of the TV. I would have learned so much more. {sigh}

Anonymous said...

Aww, what a neat story, Karyn!

Now I need to get the for dummies book, don't I?

Let me know what you're kind of jam you're making....maybe I'll do it too and we can compare notes! :D

BTW, LOVE the name for your chair...."the womb"! That's so great!

Barbara said...

My grandmothers were never the canning sort. I started learning last year with Apple Butter, Spiced Apples and Vanilla Pears (I had an abundance of apples from a coworker) 7 months later I'm still enjoying apple butter... mmmmm