SLP 95 – Healthy, Handmade Food

Healthy, handmade food was hard to come by when I was a child.

My mom would be the first to say that cooking was not her forte’.  But, lucky for her,  Mr. Swanson, Mrs. Stouffers and many others provided pre-cooked meals that could be bought at the super market and stored in the freezer until needed.

So, for many of us, cooking amounted to opening a package and heating a frozen or canned meal up on the stove or in the oven.

Hey, it was the “modern” way, wasn’t it?

The Allure of Handmade Food

Handmade FoodWomen had entered the workforce and needed a quick and simple way to ensure their families were fed. Convenience foods fit the bill.  And when the freezer was empty, there was always McDonalds!

I experienced handmade food when I spent the night at a friend’s house or on visits to my grandparents’ farm in North Dakota. Because it was so rare in my world, it always seemed special to me.  And it always tasted SO good!

Thus began my fascination with handmade food and from-scratch cooking.  Even as a child, many of my favorite books were cook books.  Like so many others, I learned to cook, not from other family members, but from outside sources.

Of course in those days there was no Internet – no website like “The Domestic Wildflower” to teach me how to can and sew.

Today, there is.  And thankfully, brilliant people like Jenny Gomes are using this technology to teach skills that used to be passed down from generation to generation.

Our Lost Domestic Skills

handmade food

Drinks made with shrubs.

Jenny was fortunate enough to be raised in a family where canning and sewing were taught at an early age. She recalls helping her mother and grandmother by peeling the produce that was about to be canned.

She was too busy for canning as a teenager, but her sewing skills sure came in handy with friends when buttons fell off or Halloween costumes were needed.

When she was pregnant with her first child, canning took on a whole new meaning.  She realized it was an excellent way to ensure she had convenient, yet healthy food for her baby that didn’t have any harmful additives.

A natural teacher, Jenny wanted to help women who lacked the confidence to master the domestic skills she grew up with. Thus “The Domestic Wildflower” website was born.

Through her website, Jenny offers classes in cooking, canning, sewing, craft making and more.  She has even rediscovered some valuable skills that had been nearly forgotten.

Have you ever heard of a syrup called a “shrub?”  It’s a prohibition-era method for preserving fruits and vegetables with sugar and vinegar. Jenny has brought the practice of making shrubs into the 21st century through a course you can take on her website.

Our discussion reminded me that sustainable living really comes down to resourcefulness.  It’s about doing whatever it takes to thrive where you are planted – much like a wildflower. Jenny Gomes is a wonderful example of this.

And if you’re interested in learning more about canning, check out Jenny’s  Steam Canning Workshop which makes canning much faster than traditional canning.
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