I was looking for a good recipe for making strawberry jam today. The recipes I found online were not good enough. They asked for too much sugar, water, and gelling agents. An old recipe book came into my mind. So I knelt in front of the kitchen cupboard and, after taking out most of the things, I found the old Weck® book all the way in the back. I scanned through it and found some recipes I liked. I noticed that many of these 1950s recipes were quite different than the ones we find in today's cookbooks.
The jam recipes in my old book called for less sugar, no water, and no gelling agents. I tried one of them today. As hubby walked into the kitchen he said: "It sure smells good in here." He got to taste fresh, homemade strawberry jam. He didn't miss any sugar in it. In fact, he mentioned that the jam was quite sweet. This means that next time I could use even less sugar. I'm delighted about that. There will be homemade jam on our breakfast table from now on.
Processed food contains a lot more than the original ingredient/s. It will have additives and preservatives inside. Many of these add on products are more or less unhealthy for us. If you look at the product packaging label you will discover ingredients you probably never heard of before. The question is: Are they necessary, healthy, filling?
I give you three reasons why you should consider to make food from scratch:
Now, I have to admit that baking and cooking does take time. Sometimes we will have to invest a lot of time to get the right results. Today's jam recipes will take only 3-5 minutes to complete. Making jam according to a recipe of the good ol' fashion days requires 20-25 minutes. The tasty outcome proves, though, that the right ingredients and the extra time spent are well worth it.
I love to read Proverbs 31. By the end of 2019 I will have read it seven times (once in each month that has thirty-one days). Honestly? Often enough I will read its words with mixed feelings. Why? I feel the standard is quite high and it seems impossible for me to achieve.
A few weeks ago, while reading Proverbs 31, I dwelt on verse 15 for a little while:
She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.
While I was thinking about the word "food" something came to my mind. Before I'll go on, I'll have to explain that I'm originally from a region in Germany which is famous for its money wise people. All through our lives we hear: Save! Economize! Use sparingly!
So how does this relate to the food for her household? Whenever I'm trying to share with others how to save money on grocery bills they will usually reply something like: "I save here and there but I can't cut down on my food expenses." It is important to mention, of course, that saving on food goes hand in hand with being (a little bit more) content with what we are eating. That's where the problem usually lies and the discussion will end: barley, beans, chicken soup, pea stew, lentils, wheat, and many other homemade dishes I grew up with are no longer tasty for the modern tongue.
The Proverb also says that the woman is not afraid of snow (verse 21), that she watches over the ways of her household, and that she doesn't eat the bread of idleness (verse 27). She is such an extraordinary good role model, isn't she? I admire this woman and would love to become like her some day. How about you?
When taking advice from other homemakers we have to discern between principles and methods.
The following is not an exhaustive but a list of some of the principles for homemaking:
The methods of fulfilling the principles of homemaking may vary from homemaker to homemaker. While one woman accomplishes her tasks in a total different way than another woman would do them, she still fulfills her duty by doing what is required of her.
One homemaker cleans her house from front to back every day. Another cleans the family home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The first one could do so because she has little children and two dogs at home. The other could do so because her children are grown ups and moved out already. Principle: keep the home clean. Method: depending on the individual family.
One homemaker cooks pasta with sauce and vegetables every weekday. Another brings fancy meals to the table each day of the week. The first one could do so because she has only a small family budget available. The other could do so because money is not an issue in her home. Principle: feed the family. Method: depending on the individual family.
One homemaker's eighty-year-old mother-in-law has fallen ill and is in need of special care so she is living with the family now. The homemaker lets her children watch a DVD after they have finished homework together. Another takes her children to the park or to a movie twice a week after their homework is done. Principle: look after your children. Method: depending on the individual family.
These are general examples. Using your own life experience, I'm sure you can think of more. It's so easy to impose one or the other of our methods on other women. But they may not have the tools, the upbringing or the financial resources that we have. I've caught myself judging other women for doing some things another way... Later on I've read a book by Nancy Wilson called The Fruit Of Her Hands in which she explains the difference between principles and methods quite well.
In giving advice to others let us remember that just because a method of doing something seems best for us and our family doesn't mean that another woman and her family have to use the exact same method. We need to be gentle and understanding when teaching younger women. We have to avoid the trap of calling a method a principle. Let them find their best way of accomplishing tasks at home.