Last night our house smelled like chicken noodle soup. Except that it wasn't soup I was cooking. Just smelled like it. I had baked a wonderful chicken in the oven for dinner . When dinner was over I shredded the chicken off the bones and I was not about to let those wonderful chicken parts, bones and all those other things I don't want to know the name of, go to waste. So at 8 o'clock I threw that chicken back into a pot (along with a bunch of veggies and spices) and by 10 o'clock I had 7 mason jars filled with wonderful golden chicken broth. It's incredibly simple and tastes wonderful in soups and stews. Best news is that I know exactly what's in it. And that's why I do what I do...
I am finding that the deeper I go into making everything homemade, the more I am using every last inch of the food we eat. If you go to the trouble of peeling or chopping or shelling something, by golly, you begin to appreciate just exactly where your food comes from and what goes into preparing it. If the kids sit and shell peanuts for a while just to get a jar of peanut butter, then they are more likely to eat every last drop because they took the time to make it. I find myself looking at food very differently right now.
For instance, if I am shopping for vegetables right now in the store, I wonder where in the world is it warm enough to grow a good ripe tomato. Because it sure ain't warm here. Many times our fruits and vegetables are being shipped from a great distance. And that means that this tomato, I'm holding in my hands, has been on a truck for at least a couple of weeks (or more) before it has even come to me. It's no wonder that a tomato bought in the middle of winter tastes so bad in comparison to one at its ripest during the summer. There is no comparison.
So what started as a game to me just to see how many things I can make homemade is very quickly becoming an obsession of finding the best quality food for my family. I realize that this will take me some time, but my new goal is to provide (meaning canning and freezing) this summer enough fresh quality fruits and vegetables that we can put away to last us throughout the winter until next summer garden season rolls around.
It will take LOTS of planning on my part, for this is a big family that likes to eat...a lot. It will take getting a WAY BIGGER garden. And it will take...going local. Local for the things that I cannot grow. Going local for my apples and blueberries and strawberries. Going local for my honey and going local for the things I cannot grow. I already lined up a cow from a local farmer to eat...the cow that is, not the farmer. And also a pig. Now, I just need to find a farmer with free-range chickens and fresh eggs. That shouldn't be that hard, right? We live in Iowa. Farm belt city. Surely there's some farmer out there who can hear my plea. Or....better yet....maybe I'll just talk my husband into moving out to the country and buying some land. Our own little green acres....it's the place to be....farm living's the life for me....(sorry, just started belting out a song there).
Well, I may not make it through perfectly this time...but I will prevail. I must, it's definitely an obsession now. Plus, think about what it will do for our food bill...yippee for us!