My Christmas wish list is so predictable, Santa and his representatives have no trouble finding the right gifts. Here is a sampling of what lay under the tree for me this year.
Carolyn begins, "it only takes five years to become self sufficient in fruits and vegetables year round". Immensely reassuring for someone like me who is way past the first flush of youth. Her garden is in Victoria, British Columbia, an environment conducive to growing, however, she started on 15 feet of clay fill which would be a challenge anywhere. I happen to now live in similar growing conditions , minus the clay t.g., so I was keen to see what could be achieved.
I've only read the January chapter so far but things bode well. This chapter is all about soil, everything you could want to know and then some. Flipping through February I can see we get into design, tools and building stuff. Perhaps to encourage the reader there is also a to die for recipe for Mildred's Norwegian Fruitcake. If I ever meet Mildred I am going to kiss her. Any fresh fruit can be thrown in, rhubarb chunks with orange peel is one glorious combination and cherries, apples, blackberries, pear slices, raspberries, strawberries are also on the list.
This book is Carolyn Herriot's response to the Making Sure Your Neighbour is Fed definition of food security. "I decided to put everything I knew into this book, so that others can work toward achieving greater food self sufficiency without learning the hard way" Smart lady.
On the back the blurb claims "from a quarter acre you can harvest: 1,400 eggs, 50 lbs of wheat, 60 lbs of fruit, 2000 lbs of vegetables, 280 lbs of pork and 75 lbs of nuts." Will this book convince me? Right now I'm thinking the claim is on the ambitious side. I wish this was a really, really, monstrously famous book because then I could write a fabulous and money making blog about following it's principles in the style of those blogs that live according to Oprah for a year or cook every recipe from Julia Child.
So far, I'm pleased with the arrangement of information and artwork. I'm a visual learner so books that are pleasing to the eye have an advantage. I'm only a few pages in and again we start with planning. Whatever is ahead, I'm loving the diagrams for planting one tenth of an acre, one quarter of an acre and half an acre. It would seem Mr and Mrs Homesteader and all the little Homesteaders are living in a very tiny house if they have the space to plant all those crops. Hello, I've just looked at another page and now they say I can have a 100 lbs of honey too. I have to read on, this book will be coming to bed with me tonight.
This was from M, who along with the child with Christmas in his heart, gave us a warm and wonderful Christmas. Darling girl is a fabulous cook from a family of fabulous cooks, I admit to feeling intimidated. Fortunately she has a kind heart and chose a book within my limited skill range. I picked this book up before breakfast today and was still reading it at lunch time. It is fantastic. It is rare I get excited about recipes but I'm excited about these. It tells me everything I need to know from pantry supplies, equipment, prep techniques, and how to safely puree without a kitchen splattering episode. Three basic stock recipes follow. The recipes are arranged by season and availability of ingredients. Don't these sound wonderful: Squash, Pear and Parsnip with Ginger; Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Lentil; My Big Fat Italian Wedding? I'm particularly pleased to have received this book as our garden will be dominated by root vegetables next year and I can enjoy using the produce in these soups.
The Soup Sisters is a non profit organisation founded by Sharon Hapton. Nurturing women join with chefs to provide soup to women's shelters and youth in need. It is an idea simple in execution and brilliant in concept. Please go to their website. I think you will be impressed.
Also thanks to M's Mom whose Christmas Day plan is the one I will be using from now on. Do the traditional dinner on Christmas Eve. Spend Christmas Day grazing left overs, watching movies, playing games and stay in your PJs all day. Loved it.