Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hungry Yet?

"Women in that country were judged not by their bulging sweaters, but by their bulging pantries. Husbands unashamedly threw open their pantry doors and dared you to have more of anything."

The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald

That's one of my favorite books, by the way, although knowing that Betty eventually divorced Bob and fled the chicken farm makes it all a little less funny, just like knowing that Shirley Jackson struggled with depression and alcoholism and that her children are virtual recluses makes Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons a little less funny.

But I digress, and I hadn't even begun yet. Today I made four jars of raspberry jam and four jars of blackberry jam. I used to do a lot of that sort of thing--making jam, and baking bread, and sewing Christmas stockings for people, and coming up with elaborately-themed home birthday parties...and then I pretty much stopped. I don't know exactly why, but I do know that I was receiving messages, from both inside and outside myself, that I was wasting my time.

Now, in my continuing quest to convince myself that everything counts, I plan to revisit some of those activities. I'm not an artist like Anna, but I'm inspired by her handmade items--also by Angry Chicken's sewing, cooking, and paper-cutting; and I like the way Jordan and Abby work to make their surroundings beautiful. And, frankly, the way Umami Girl uses her fresh produce is making me feel a little competitive.

In Rebecca West's Cousin Rosamund, Rose is dining with her friend Mr. Morpurgo:

"'I do not waste money,' I objected.
'Nobody really does that,' he conceded. 'It is very hard to imagine an action that falls into that category except lighting one's cigarette with a five-pound note. It is almost impossible to spend money without getting something for it. Even if it gives one only a momentary satisfaction that is something for which only a miser would be unwilling to spend money.'"

I'd like to posit that it is also difficult to truly waste time, although I'm afraid some Internet surfing is akin to lighting one's cigarette with a five-pound note. I am resolved that as long as my time is spent on something that I know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful, I will not consider it wasted.

And now I should probably clean the exploded Cream of Wheat out of the microwave.

PS Local berries, local honey.


Johnny Falschgedank said...


Allison Slater Tate said...

I love this homekeeping stuff you are doing. Have you thought about writing a book about this kind of thing? Something about making a home more "la dolce vita" and less anal Martha? That would be right up my alley.

umami girl said...

Geez thanks, but I'm not the one who made jam this week. Glad to have found you here! Looking forward to reading more.