Lost Art of Cooking

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beemer

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Feb 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/11/99
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Hi All,
Sometimes I feel guilty for the "shortcuts" I take in cooking. I'm 35
yrs. old and maybe a little older than some of you here so maybe it's a
generational thing. I don't know.
My mother used to cook dinner every night even though she never liked
cooking that much. She cooked everything basically from scratch. She
made casseroles, spaghetti, pot roast etc.. It was never anything fancy
but good, wholesome food.
These days, you can buy premade sauces in jars, frozen vegetables with
sauce already added, packaged dinners where you just add the meat,
packages of dry seasoning with directions for stir frys, noodles &
sauce, frozen lasagna etc.... You get my drift.....
It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
scratch anymore.
I do cook from scratch when I'm home during the day/weekends because I
enjoy cooking. When I'm working or very busy, I resort to the packages
of seasoning that you can mix up for stir frys etc.... I have also
started making the packages of scalloped potatoes (which Steve loves)
even though I used to make great scalloped potatoes from scratch.
I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
I wonder if we're losing something in the process.
Just to get a little philosophical about it......we also all used to eat
around the kitchen table as a family. Steve and I tend to eat in front
of the tv.
And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
as I did as a kid)?
Just my thoughts.........Alison

St T

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Feb 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/11/99
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beemer wrote:

> It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
> scratch anymore.
> I do cook from scratch when I'm home during the day/weekends because I
> enjoy cooking. When I'm working or very busy, I resort to the packages
> of seasoning that you can mix up for stir frys etc.... I have also
> started making the packages of scalloped potatoes (which Steve loves)
> even though I used to make great scalloped potatoes from scratch.

Well, the important thing is that you've found something Steve loves!!

When I have time to cook (which is *not* every weekend), I'll often make a
double batch of stuff so I'll have extras for lunch or for another "together"
meal. (Unfortunately, right now I have an alfredo lasgana left over from a
couple months ago, and the recipe didn't work. I'm not looking forward to
getting so despirate I'd eat it...) All you'd need to do is toss the pan or
dish in the oven or even in the microwave and you've got a wholesome homemade
meal! Whee! Some pre-portioned side dishes can make meals seem nicer --
mashed potatoes, squash, green bean casserole (green beans, cream of mushroom
soup, french onions on top), homemade stuffing, etc. -- then just toss in a
pan of pork chops, pieced chicken, etc. (portioned meats so it doesn't take as
long to cook) and you've got a homecooked meal with virtually no prep time.
You might also want to mix up your own seasonings or sauces, keep them in the
fridge and whip them out for your own fresh stir-fry creations. Options:
Teryaki sauce, oriental glaze, curry. Many cookbooks and lots of internet
sites offer recipes, just mix up more of it, keep it in a sealed
plastic/tupperware container, and you *know* what's all in it!

Don and I also really like the frozen mixed veggies to toss in with some
chicken or beef for a stir fry -- no chopping, very quick! They also work
well in different casseroles.

Lots of people prefer doing stuff from scratch because once you've got the
basic ingredients stocked up, it's way cheaper than buying pre-mixed sauces
and prepared frozen dinners, plus there's the added glow of knowing what
you're eating. (I'm not sure if it was national, but the Breyer's commercials
with the little kids trying to pronounce the preservatives come to mind!)

As for eating in front of the TV, it's really a matter of getting into
practice. We occasionally do drive through fast food or pizza while playing
Playstation, but Don really likes making sure we're actually sitting down,
acting like we're DINING together rather than just snarfing down food. He's
so neat.

--
St Theresa of the Net/only one you at uwm/Goal: HS wardrobe/&Don in '99/all
bases covered

kathry...@pharma.novartis.com

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Feb 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/11/99
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In article <36C27D...@interlog.com>,

bee...@interlog.nospam.com wrote:
> Hi All,
> Sometimes I feel guilty for the "shortcuts" I take in cooking.
> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
> as I did as a kid)?
> Just my thoughts.........Alison
>

If you're busy, then there is no reason to feel guilty about taking the
so-called "short cuts". Heck, even when I'm not busy, I hate to spend a lot
of time cooking.

Convenience food may not always be the healthiest food, but I must get on my
chemists' soap box since you mentioned chemicals. Every substance is a
"chemical". Water, sucrose, etc.. Everything that you consume, every cell
in your body, everything around you is made of chemicals. Every substance
you consume can be defined in terms of its molecular structure and the
chemical elements taht make it up. If you would like to attack
preservatives, artificial flavorings, etc., please feel free, but do not
insult the chemical. Getting down from my chemists' soap box.

--Kathy Kula

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

c...@my-dejanews.com

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Feb 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/11/99
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> Sometimes I feel guilty for the "shortcuts" I take in cooking. I'm 35
> yrs. old and maybe a little older than some of you here so maybe it's a
> generational thing. I don't know.
> My mother used to cook dinner every night even though she never liked
> cooking that much. She cooked everything basically from scratch. She
> made casseroles, spaghetti, pot roast etc.. It was never anything fancy
> but good, wholesome food.
> These days, you can buy premade sauces in jars, frozen vegetables with
> sauce already added, packaged dinners where you just add the meat,
> packages of dry seasoning with directions for stir frys, noodles &
> sauce, frozen lasagna etc.... You get my drift.....
> It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
> scratch anymore.
> I do cook from scratch when I'm home during the day/weekends because I
> enjoy cooking. When I'm working or very busy, I resort to the packages
> of seasoning that you can mix up for stir frys etc.... I have also
> started making the packages of scalloped potatoes (which Steve loves)
> even though I used to make great scalloped potatoes from scratch.
> I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
> I wonder if we're losing something in the process.

Probably. This thread comes up in rec.food.cooking once in awhile, so you're
not alone in wondering about it. At least once a week I say "I sometimes wish
I could just be a housewife, stay home all day and fix up the house, prepare
really nice meals every night - ready for you when you come home." He of
course loves that thought, but it's not going to happen. We both like to
cook, and for the most part still do everything from scratch, but bigger
meals are for the weekends when we have time to do that. During the week,
we'll get home at 7pm or later, starving, and ready to eat the first thing
we can throw together. Making every thing from scratch at that point isn't
always an option.

But I'm with you about processed foods - I'm sure it's not all good for us,
so I try to avoid pre-packaged stuff as much as possible. Here's how

1. Make sauces in one big batch and then freeze in smaller units (this works
for most types of sauces)

2. Make a meal on the weekend that can be stored for a few days in the frig
or freezer (last weekend I made potato leek soup and froze 10 servings,
awhile back I made a big pot of chili and froze individual servings, also
turkey soup...). I've made lasagnas on a Sunday and that was our lunch for
the week. Cheesy-lentil bake thing that kept well in the fridge for ~4 days.

3. Eat salads - we eat salads quite frequently, which I crave if I don't have
for a few days (need fresh vegetables)... this requires frequent enough trips
to the market for fresh vegetables (1x per week, sometimes 1.5-2weeks)

4. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to packaged things - eg. if I make pasta
from a box (like Pasta-Roni) we will add some frozen shrimp and chopped
onions, garlic, and peppers...or frozen mix of veggies (like brocoli,
carrots).

5. bread - we're pretty fussy about bread (it's got to be good fresh crusty
french bread, tho I also love sourdough). We finally found a store which
sells this, but it's not our regular market. I've been making bread
occassionally, but it does take a lot of time (letting it rise - the actual
(*work* involved is minimal). Steve's current idea is to prepar every small
loaves, let rise, but don't bake and instead store in the fridge (perhaps a
week's worth) and then bake as we need them (it usually takes less than 30
mins in the oven, we could do this in the am - stick in the oven before
showering, by the time we're dressed and ready for breakfast, it could be
ready). Not being a master breadmaker by any means, I'm not sure this will
work...I've been meaning to ask on rfc about this.

6. Take advantage of the pre-packaged stuff! It's not all bad. While I
generally make spice mixes myself (if I can remember what I need), we often
rely on Patak's pastes for our Indian curries, and some other Thai pastes for
our Thai curries. They come in jars or bottles, and make curry making much
easier (adding the spices individually isn't that hard, but for the most
part, the pastes are even easier, taste excellent, and we don't mind :))


> Just to get a little philosophical about it......we also all used to eat
> around the kitchen table as a family. Steve and I tend to eat in front
> of the tv.

> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
> as I did as a kid)?
> Just my thoughts.........Alison

We flip back and forth - if it's the rush home and eat scenario on
weeknights, quite often it will be in front of the TV (usu in time for
Jeopardy). We generally turn it off soon afterwards though. But if we "plan"
a meal, like on the weekends, we'll sit at the table. Neither of us are big
TV fanatics, so I don't know why we do this! We're trying to get out of the
habit... when HFCs enter the picture, the TV will be nowhere to be found
(well, unless it's Match of the Day.:))

Cherise

jpetr...@my-dejanews.com

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Feb 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/11/99
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In article <36C27D...@interlog.com>,
bee...@interlog.nospam.com wrote:
> Hi All,
> Sometimes I feel guilty for the "shortcuts" I take in cooking. I'm 35
> yrs. old and maybe a little older than some of you here so maybe it's a
> generational thing. I don't know.
> My mother used to cook dinner every night even though she never liked
> cooking that much. She cooked everything basically from scratch. [snip]

> It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
> scratch anymore.

[snip]


> I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
> I wonder if we're losing something in the process.

> Just to get a little philosophical about it......we also all used to eat
> around the kitchen table as a family. Steve and I tend to eat in front
> of the tv.
> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
> as I did as a kid)?
> Just my thoughts.........Alison

I seem to recall a sorta recent thread about eating in front of the TV versus
at the dinner table, so I won't comment on that.

On the cooking thing, I come from a very different perspective. My mom can't
cook. Period. She tries - she really does - but she just can't carry it off.
Often, I'd rather only eat two mouthfulls and leave the table than eat what
was in front of me - the Kate Moss look. When I had the pre-college physical,
the doctor classified my health as "poor" because I was malnourished. I
thought college food was great and gained a lot of weight.

My mom always cooked from scratch. That doesn't mean it was better. Ever
since I got to college, I've been learning what food is /really/ supposed to
taste like and trying to teach myself how to make food taste good. I've
found that I'm not as picky about some foods as I used to be - spinach isn't
so bad as long as it's not boiled for 5-10 minutes and turned into a pile of
slime! And lasagna is better when you cook the pasta first!

As far as I'm concerned, as long as DH and I can get tasty, healthy food that
will both deliver nutrients /and/ appetize, so it actually gets eaten, we'll
be doing a good job. If that means taking cooking shortcuts, so be it. We try
to cook from scratch when we can because it costs less, but we don't feel
guilty over the pre-prepared foods.

Jeanne Petrangelo

---
!Notice! I don't read this email address due to spam. To reply directly
to me, take out the spaces: jpetrang @ harris . com

OBDisclaimer: I speak for myself, not my company.

Wende A. Feller

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Feb 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/11/99
to
beemer wrote:
>
> Sometimes I feel guilty for the "shortcuts" I take in cooking. I'm 35
> yrs. old and maybe a little older than some of you here so maybe it's a
> generational thing. I don't know.

Contemplate your paycheck until the feeling goes away. If you don't work
for pay (I know you do, but others here don't), contemplate the
wonderful things you accomplish in terms of education, charity, personal
growth, or whatever during the time that you're *not* wasting making
spaghetti sauce from scratch. Cooking the slow way is not necessarily
the best use of your time or talents.

> My mother used to cook dinner every night even though she never liked

> cooking that much. She cooked everything basically from scratch. She
> made casseroles, spaghetti, pot roast etc.. It was never anything fancy
> but good, wholesome food.

And the pasta sauce in the jar is also good, wholesome food. If you're
nervous about preservatives and additives, pay a few cents extra for the
preservative-free stuff in cans and boxes. I buy very nice organic
canned beans because they taste better to me than the regular kind, and
no, I don't feel guilty that I only have the time or volition to make my
own beans (overnight soak, 6-8 hours in a slow oven) about once every
six weeks. I do it that often largely to experiment with flavors that
aren't available in cans.

> These days, you can buy premade sauces in jars, frozen vegetables with
> sauce already added, packaged dinners where you just add the meat,
> packages of dry seasoning with directions for stir frys, noodles &
> sauce, frozen lasagna etc.... You get my drift.....

Yup. And that means you don't spend a fortune on spices that get stale
from lack of use, you have far fewer ingredients going bad because you
can't use them up, you have a more varied diet, and you don't have to
eat as much fat. Packaged foods can use emulsifiers and stuff to make
sauces. If you do it at home, yourself, a lot more butter is involved.
You also eat more vegetables that haven't been boiled into submission
(and loss of vitamins) than you did as a child.

> It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
> scratch anymore.

Yup -- and that gives us more time to feel inadequate for not being
Martha Stewart. That's okay -- I've been reading a pile of books on the
history of housework -- you probably spend more time on housework than
your great-grandmother did.

> I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
> I wonder if we're losing something in the process.

Yes -- the joy of trying to figure out how to use up the leftover roast
before the family gets sick of the sight of it. My mother cooked when I
was small, and everyone was relieved when she stopped, as she's not a
great cook. I cook when I feel like it, as I like some of my recipes
much better than packaged food. But no, I don't think something has been
lost because we have options in life other than standing over a pot of
something for half the afternoon. Drudgery is not something I miss; if
you look at actual cookbooks of the era, cooking was not considered
exciting or glamorous back when women did it every day.

> Just to get a little philosophical about it......we also all used to eat
> around the kitchen table as a family. Steve and I tend to eat in front
> of the tv.

Then go sit at the dining room table. The fact that you didn't make
dinner from scratch does not mean that it has to be eaten in front of
the TV.

> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
> as I did as a kid)?

Given how vegetables were typically cooked, and how fatty recipes of the
era were, no. If you're eating a balanced diet of packaged foods, you're
probably eating more healthfully, with less waste, now. If you enjoy
standing in front of the kitchen sink paring vegetables, pare to your
heart's content... but no, those of us who know where the packaged rice
section is in the supermarket are not missing anything.

Wende

JulieD3964

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Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
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>These days, you can buy premade sauces in jars, frozen vegetables with
>sauce already added, packaged dinners where you just add the meat,
>packages of dry seasoning with directions for stir frys, noodles &
>sauce, frozen lasagna etc.... You get my drift.....
>It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
>scratch anymore.
>I do cook from scratch when I'm home during the day/weekends because I
>enjoy cooking. When I'm working or very busy, I resort to the packages
>of seasoning that you can mix up for stir frys etc.... I have also
>started making the packages of scalloped potatoes (which Steve loves)
>even though I used to make great scalloped potatoes from scratch.
>I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
>I wonder if we're losing something in the process.

We've worked out a great compromise to this. I have dozens of easy one dish
meals that take little to no time to prepare for during the week. On the
weekends, we cook more complicated meals that take more planning and time. I
don't bake bread, for example, during the week.

Sure, I use canned vegetables but I make my own sauces (ten minutes tops) and
have fun at the same time. During the week, we eat a lot of chicken breasts
and easy to whip up meals like hamburgers, meatloaf or even a casserole.

If I do use "shortcuts", it's only on the side-dishes and not the entree.
However, I've found some recipes for easy to make side dishes that both of us
enjoy. Most of my staples come out of Weight Watchers Quick & Easy Meals in 30
Minutes (or a title close to that!).


Julie
Julie...@aol.com
Please remove "nospam" to reply.

Jennifer Sayers

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Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
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Wende A. Feller <vybo...@skypoint.com> wrote:

>beemer wrote:
>
>> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
>> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
>> as I did as a kid)?
>
>Given how vegetables were typically cooked, and how fatty recipes of the
>era were, no. If you're eating a balanced diet of packaged foods, you're
>probably eating more healthfully, with less waste, now. If you enjoy
>standing in front of the kitchen sink paring vegetables, pare to your
>heart's content... but no, those of us who know where the packaged rice
>section is in the supermarket are not missing anything.

In any case, many people are worried about pesticides and other residues
on fresh fruit and vegetables. Cooking "from scratch" uses these unless
you take time and/or money to avoid commercial produce.

jen.

JMH

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Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
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beemer wrote:

> It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
> scratch anymore.


I make most things from scratch (cheaper this way) and most of my
dinners are whipped up in 30 minutes.


> I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
> I wonder if we're losing something in the process.

Society as a whole can be classified as "busy" or much more hurried than
in previous generations. It does hold true for even SAH moms.


> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
> as I did as a kid)?


Over a decade, I gradually changed the way I cook and the way the family
eats. A concern for fewer additives in my food eventually lead to
owning enough land to grow our own. I currently raise pigs, sheep,
chickens for both eggs and meat, and have a garden. I get my totally
grass fed beef locally. Aside from the health issues, homegrown food
just tastes so much better. The sausage is lean and the pork tender,
the eggs have a richness of taste that no storebought egg can compare,
the beef has been the tenderest and most flavorful I have ever had, and
the chicken. Mmm, mmm, the chicken. Fresh chicken tastes NOTHING like
storebought. I can't stand to eat even the freshest of storebought
chicken because I can now taste the faint taste of decay. I served pork
spare ribs last week and Tim said it was the best pork he had ever had.
Fresh veggies are a delight and I would rather forego grocery vegetables
in the winter than pretend to like what I am eating. I honestly think
some people get turned off from various types of food or meats because
they have the pathetic offerings from a grocery store. A ripe
nectarine from the tree is truly a gift from God whereas the storebought
nectarine is hard as a rock and tasteless because it was pciked while
green in order to get it to the store before spoiling.

So, I cook more from scratch than anyone I know. I mean, I am out there
weeding the garden and feeding the pigs, collecting the eggs, butchering
the chickens but then I like knowing where my food comes from and I also
love the taste. I am spurred on by the thought of how good the food
will taste and how little money I am spending to get it.

What is a dying art is canning. I have taught several younger women to
can jams and applesauce but the only person I know of who cans in any
quantity is my niece-in-law who puts up more than 500 quarts a year for
a family of 7. Frankly, I love canning because the food tastes better
and for a large effort at one time of the year, I save even more time
later in the year when I get to eat what I canned. Canned beef cubes
are so easy to do and I have precooked, very tender beef sitting in my
pantry to be used in those quicky 30 minute meals I mentioned earlier.

I don't expect anyone to follow my example since it is the extreme.
However, the more you cook from scratch, the cheaper your food bills are
and cutting the grocery budget is one of the prime ways to save money.
Think of it as paying yourself as opposed to paying someone else 2 to 4
times more for their time. It costs me 45 cents to make a loaf of brown
bread but I can sell it for $2.00 to my harried, busy neighbors. It
costs me about 50 cents per dozen for eggs but my harried, busy
neighbors pay me $1.75 for them. It's the value added to the raw
product which drives the grocery prices higher. Cooking from scratch
allows you to save a dollar as opposed to spending a dollar since every
dollar you spend is actually worth two dollars that you had to earn just
to get that one dollar in net income.

AS to Wende's comments:


> contemplate the
> wonderful things you accomplish in terms of education, charity, personal
> growth, or whatever during the time that you're *not* wasting making
> spaghetti sauce from scratch. Cooking the slow way is not necessarily
> the best use of your time or talents.

Sorry, Wende , but I disagree. Saving money is not a waste of time.
Considering how "from scratch" I am, I still have time to feed the
homeless lunch once a month, drive Meals on Wheels once a week, be a 4-H
volunteer leader, have enough time to read Wall Street
Journal/Wired/Bloomberg/various cooking magazines/National Review/Policy
Review, run a small farm produce business as well as give school tours
using a national award winning educational program, sew 75% of my own
clothing, homeschool, plan and teach an entire segment on mammals to a
homeschool group of 60 students including fetal pig dissection (I am
doing the April session as well on Insects and we'll be dissecting
grasshoppers), and I just started oil portrait painting again after a
hiatus of 15 years. I honestly do not think I am a superwoman either
since I obviously have plenty of time left over to piddle around on
UseNet.

If time is a facotr of our productivity, then wouldn 't it be far more
productive to take the time to cook that spaghetti sauce from scratch
(in the crockpot!) thus saving $1.75 than it would be spending the same
amount of time on UseNet which requires money to the ISP to access?

****************************************************
"The only thing more desireable than the praise of the virtuous
is the enmity of the despicable."
http://www.mindspring.com/~thinds/jmh/

Althea

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Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
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<lots of friendly snippage to save space>

I admire your lifestyle and hope to someday have the space to do something
similar. Currently, I make most things from scratch, keeping fresh
ingredients on hand. I sew alot of my clothes, and knit socks for us. I bake
all our bread (got some rye going now), and Tom makes beer. (We're going to
try wine soon.) I'm looking into canning, too. My mom bought me a pressure
cooker/canner for that purpose, and my breadmaker makes jams and jellies.

Your comments made me think of the first time I grew tomatoes. When the
first one was ready, I picked it, washed and when I got ready to cut into it
and eat it I couldn't. It was like I was doing this to my own child. I mean,
I had watered it, fed it, protected it, and now I was going to eat it. It
was very weird! I got over the feeling quickly, because I love tomatoes so
much, but I love to tell the story. Most people think it's kind of odd, so
do I.

Althea

>I make most things from scratch (cheaper this way) and most of my
>dinners are whipped up in 30 minutes.
>

KayBooo

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Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
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>Your comments made me think of the first time I grew tomatoes. When the
>first one was ready, I picked it, washed and when I got ready to cut into it
>and eat it I couldn't. It was like I was doing this to my own child. I mean,
>I had watered it, fed it, protected it, and now I was going to eat it. It
>was very weird! I got over the feeling quickly, because I love tomatoes so
>much, but I love to tell the story. Most people think it's kind of odd, so
>do I.

Tom was like this about his first batch of tomatoes last year. He was so
convinced that many of his seedlings wouldn't make it that he never thinned
them out. As a result we had seventeen tomato plants and he loved each and
every one of them. When we got home from work, he'd do a tour of the tomato
crop and see how everyone was doing.

We ate tomato sandwiches all summer long--YUM--and all of our friends and
family enjoyed them as well.

Kathy

Kris Hildrum

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Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
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In article <79v6e1$85p$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, <c...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:
>5. bread - we're pretty fussy about bread (it's got to be good fresh crusty
>french bread, tho I also love sourdough). We finally found a store which
>sells this, but it's not our regular market. I've been making bread
>occassionally, but it does take a lot of time (letting it rise - the actual
>(*work* involved is minimal). Steve's current idea is to prepar every small
>loaves, let rise, but don't bake and instead store in the fridge (perhaps a
>week's worth) and then bake as we need them (it usually takes less than 30
>mins in the oven, we could do this in the am - stick in the oven before
>showering, by the time we're dressed and ready for breakfast, it could be
>ready). Not being a master breadmaker by any means, I'm not sure this will
>work...I've been meaning to ask on rfc about this.

Have you tried a breadmaker? They only cost about $60, and these
days, even the cheapest ones on the market are quite good. If you have a
breadmaker, then you can put the ingredients in the night before, set the
timer, and the bread will be ready in the morning.
I also occasionally prepare a "bread mix" (the dry ingredients
that go into the bread). To use the mix, I just add the liquid and the
yeast and I'm done.

Even though I'm really short on counter space (the top of the
portable dishwasher is all I have) I don't begrudge the space for my
breadmaker.

KWH

c...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
In article <7a1lec$cvb$1...@agate.berkeley.edu>,

hil...@quito.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Kris Hildrum) wrote:
> Have you tried a breadmaker? They only cost about $60, and these
> days, even the cheapest ones on the market are quite good. If you have a
> breadmaker, then you can put the ingredients in the night before, set the
> timer, and the bread will be ready in the morning.
> I also occasionally prepare a "bread mix" (the dry ingredients
> that go into the bread). To use the mix, I just add the liquid and the
> yeast and I'm done.
>
> Even though I'm really short on counter space (the top of the
> portable dishwasher is all I have) I don't begrudge the space for my
> breadmaker.

We did. There was one on sale that we were looking at. I had been hesitating
buying such an appliance given the fact we'll be moving from the US to the UK
in a year or so and electric appliances are not transferrable (at least not
easily). However, when I found a very inexpensive one, I asked the folks on
rec.food.cooking for their opinions and came to the conclusion that it really
wasn't worth it for us given the type of bread we prefer. It seemed that the
most I could do with the machine was prepare the dough, but would still have
to shape it, let it rise again, then bake in the oven and baste for the
crunchy effect. Since we both prefer a more typical crusty french bread (the
consistency of the bread as well as the shape is not possible - according to
my rfc survey - in US breadmachines), we decided it wasn't worthwhile. And
we're pretty darned picky about that - one market here sells 'French bread"
and it's basically typical American white bread reshaped. Blech. Another
market does sell proper french bread, so we usually buy it there. I'm still
working on perfecting my own recipe. Making bread itself is *very* easy,
it's just the time it takes to wait for it to rise than can be a hassle. When
I make it on the weeknights after work I have to plan for a late night. I
had former roommates who had a bread machine and it was indeed great to have,
but it seemed like a waste of money if all it was going to do was mix the
ingredients for me and I'd still have to let it rise and bake it in the oven.

Cherise

direct email: roh...@nd.edu

JMH

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
c...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

However, when I found a very inexpensive one, I asked the folks on
> rec.food.cooking for their opinions and came to the conclusion that it really
> wasn't worth it for us given the type of bread we prefer. It seemed that the
> most I could do with the machine was prepare the dough, but would still have
> to shape it, let it rise again, then bake in the oven and baste for the
> crunchy effect.


I have graduated to a Bosch mixer which I got for Christmas and traded
my bread machine to my MIL for her dehydrator. I love the Bosch since
it can knead 10 lbs. of bread dough at one time. I bake 6 loaves at a
time. And the Bosch is so powerful that you simply mix the ingredients
in and then let it knead for 10 minutes. Put in the loaf pans and let
rise once then bake. It also mixes super large batches of cookie dough
which I freeze for later use and I also mix meatloaf in it which I also
freeze as well.

As for food, Cherise what am I doing wrong with my tortillas when I
make taquitos? Even though I heat them, they still crack when I try to
roll them up. Is there a trick to heating them?

--

Carrie Leonard

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
c...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> 5. bread -
> Steve's current idea is to prepar every small
> loaves, let rise, but don't bake and instead store in the fridge (perhaps a
> week's worth) and then bake as we need them (it usually takes less than 30
> mins in the oven, we could do this in the am - stick in the oven before
> showering, by the time we're dressed and ready for breakfast, it could be
> ready). Not being a master breadmaker by any means, I'm not sure this will
> work...I've been meaning to ask on rfc about this.

Refridgerating for the whole week won't work -- the bread will overrise in the
fridge. But *freezing* will work. Make your dough, but don't let it rise.
Split up into the portions you want and freeze individually. The night before
you want to bake put the dough in the fridge to thaw and rise and then bake as
normal the next morning. It will take some experimenting to see if you need
to do some room temp thawing along with the fridge thawing if the bread
doesn't start to rise in enough time, but it will work.

C-
--
Carrie
Posting from Honolulu, HI
email: replace the block with soest
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/8331

c...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
In article <36C480...@mindspring.com>,
JMH <jmh...@mindspring.com> wrote:

>
> As for food, Cherise what am I doing wrong with my tortillas when I
> make taquitos? Even though I heat them, they still crack when I try to
> roll them up. Is there a trick to heating them?

I haven't made taquitos in ages but we were just talking about them on
alt.food.mexican-cooking. Your problem could be the quality of the
tortillas. I've found that the quality of corn tortillas varies
substantially, and I've never gotten tortillas as I've gotten in my hometown
(outside of Mexico of course). All my mom does is nuke 'em for a very short
time (too long they get rubbery and break), a few at a time, then put in the
meat and role. Even good ones crack if they're not heated enough, but bad
ones always seem to crack. I suppose just experiment with the length of
heating and maybe try a different brand.

Not sure that's helpful for you. You might try the mexican cooking
newsgroup, although they're in the midst (as they always are) of an argument
over what's authentic and what's not and who is qualified to determine
what's authentic....grrr....

Cherise

direct email: roh...@nd.edu

Carrie Leonard

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
KayBooo wrote:
>
> We ate tomato sandwiches all summer long--YUM--and all of our friends and
> family enjoyed them as well.
>

Oooo, toasted olive bread, cream cheee, and fresh tomato sandwich. I am in
complete food heaven.

C (who can't get a fresh tomato here at any price - d*mn fruit flies)

KayBooo

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
>> We ate tomato sandwiches all summer long--YUM--and all of our friends and
>> family enjoyed them as well.
>>
>
>Oooo, toasted olive bread, cream cheee, and fresh tomato sandwich. I am in
>complete food heaven.
>
>C (who can't get a fresh tomato here at any price - d*mn fruit flies)

ah, no--sourdough bread, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella.

Sigh...
Kathy

RNR

unread,
Feb 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/12/99
to
I know this will sound shocking, among the other responses, but I really
enjoy cooking from scratch. It's hard work, sometimes, but a lot of the
time I can make something homemade in less time and that tastes better than
packaged food.
Do I shun packaged food? No. I've even been known to eat twinkies and
frozen corn dogs. But I prefer most of our food to be made from scratch.
Since I'm the one who enjoys doing it, I tend to cook, although Rich cooked
all through my pregnancy when I was too tired and now when my hands are
full. He actually said that I have turned him on to cooking and that he
wants to learn more about it.
It isn't that hard to do, once you realize that you don't need to be
making restaurant style, fussy food every night. Save that for when you
have time, energy, desire. If you are interested learn to make "home" food,
comfort food. Mac and cheese from scratch only takes about 15 minutes (if
you are not of the browned on top persuasion) and tastes soooo good. Things
like that. I love to bake bread, but I just can't right now, I take care of
a baby and barely have time to eat sometimes, but when Rich is home and can
look after Alexander, that's the kind of project I take on.
Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is, if you really have an interest in
cooking from scratch (not just because you feel some sort of strange guilt,
but because you truly want to), then keep it simple, especially during the
week. I have a cookbook called the Instant Gourmet, nothing in it takes
more than 20 minutes real work. It relies on some pre-made ingredients, at
a higher cost, but the result is very good. There's also a book called Real
Fast Food by a Nigel something. Not to mention all of the 30 minute suppers
in magazines like Bon Appetit.
And remember, the key to good food is good ingredients. Get the
freshest, most flavorful ingredients you can afford and don't worry about
making it too fancy.

Ranee Mueller (remove redtape to reply)
------------------------------------------------------------------
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So I bought a Mac.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Macintosh: We may not get everything right,
But at least we knew the century was going to end. (Douglas Adams)
------------------------------------------------------------------

Robin

unread,
Feb 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/13/99
to
On Fri, 12 Feb 1999 18:47:48 GMT, c...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> Making bread itself is *very* easy,
>it's just the time it takes to wait for it to rise than can be a hassle. When
>I make it on the weeknights after work I have to plan for a late night. I
>had former roommates who had a bread machine and it was indeed great to have,
>but it seemed like a waste of money if all it was going to do was mix the
>ingredients for me and I'd still have to let it rise and bake it in the oven.

I have a new bread cookbook "Crust and Crumb" which doesn't have
recipies, it has "formulas". I think the guy who wrote it is somewhat
of a nut-job (lots of "philosophy") but it makes some damn good bread.

Why am I telling you this? Because every recipie in it requires
rising (at least once!) in the fridge overnight. While technically
things take longer to make, the prep time on any given day is a lot
shorter.

The pizza crust recipie has finally motivated us to start making pizza
from scratch, and the dough freezes beautifully, so we can make three
pizza's worth at a time.

Sometime soon I'm going to type up the pizza crust recipie for my mom,
and I'll post it here as well.


This address is unread due to spam.
Please post all replies.


Robin

unread,
Feb 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/13/99
to
On Fri, 12 Feb 1999 19:06:52 -0600, "RNR"
<redtape...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> I know this will sound shocking, among the other responses, but I really
>enjoy cooking from scratch. It's hard work, sometimes, but a lot of the
>time I can make something homemade in less time and that tastes better than
>packaged food.
> Do I shun packaged food? No. I've even been known to eat twinkies and
>frozen corn dogs. But I prefer most of our food to be made from scratch.
>Since I'm the one who enjoys doing it, I tend to cook, although Rich cooked
>all through my pregnancy when I was too tired and now when my hands are
>full. He actually said that I have turned him on to cooking and that he
>wants to learn more about it.
> It isn't that hard to do, once you realize that you don't need to be
>making restaurant style, fussy food every night. Save that for when you
>have time, energy, desire. If you are interested learn to make "home" food,
>comfort food. Mac and cheese from scratch only takes about 15 minutes (if
>you are not of the browned on top persuasion) and tastes soooo good. Things
>like that. I love to bake bread, but I just can't right now, I take care of
>a baby and barely have time to eat sometimes, but when Rich is home and can
>look after Alexander, that's the kind of project I take on.

I just want to second the above sentiments! I've been meaning to
respond to this thread, but hadn't gotten around to it by now.

I cook dinner every night from scratch, and it really isn't a big
project. One caveat: I'm a vegetarian, and since I do all the
cooking, *we* eat vegetarian, so obviously this may not apply to you
kooky meat eaters.

My bible for a while was "While the Pasta Cooks" which is a book of
pasta sauces you can make in (drumroll please) the time it takes the
pasta to cook. We have several favorites out of that book, and it
never comes off the shelf anymore because I know them by heart! One
of our absolute favorites does include a "convinience food", but I'm
not about to marinate my own artichoke hearts! Besides pasta, chilli
can be put together quickly, we have a vegetarian chilli mix that we
*love*, and I would never consider making it myself because not even
the Hard Times Café can do as well! Lasagne (no-boil noodles) is at
least a once a month experience. Quiches and other savory tarts are
easy (for those afraid of the pie crust: first, don't be, they're
really not that bad, but second the Pillsbury refridgerated ones, not
frozen, are *very* good.) and yummy.

One thing I always do is keep stuff on hand for a few "basic" meals.
Stuff that either doesn't have to be refridgerated, or is a staple
(like eggs or cream) so you always have something to fall back on.
For us, it's (shudder, I will never, ever, ever tell you how much
butter goes into my recipie) fettucini alfredo and pasta w/ quick
tomato sauce (canned tomatos.)

c...@my-dejanews.com

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Feb 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/13/99
to
In article <36C484D7...@block.hawaii.edu>,

Carrie Leonard <car...@block.hawaii.edu> wrote:
> Refridgerating for the whole week won't work -- the bread will overrise in the
> fridge. But *freezing* will work. Make your dough, but don't let it rise.
> Split up into the portions you want and freeze individually. The night before
> you want to bake put the dough in the fridge to thaw and rise and then bake as
> normal the next morning. It will take some experimenting to see if you need
> to do some room temp thawing along with the fridge thawing if the bread
> doesn't start to rise in enough time, but it will work.
>
> C-

Thanks for the info Carrie. I told this to Steve this morning and now he's
very excited to try it :). We just have to find a recipe we like now! The
recipe I've been using is from a Romanian friend, and while it's very good
bread, it's *very* dense, so nice on it's own in small pieces, but difficult
to eat with sandwiches (it's very filling). I altered it a bit with the Joy
Of Cooking recipe for French bread, but it didn't seem to make much
difference. Oh well, experimental time!


Cherise

direct email: roh...@nd.edu

Jean Peters

unread,
Feb 15, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/15/99
to

Robin wrote
> The pizza crust recipie has finally motivated us to start making pizza
> from scratch, and the dough freezes beautifully, so we can make three
> pizza's worth at a time.
>
> Sometime soon I'm going to type up the pizza crust recipie for my mom,
> and I'll post it here as well.

I make pizza from scratch *every single time*! Why? Because my beloved
husband doesn't like tomatoes, and I don't like pre-made pizza bases
(they're way too dry). Making the base takes about 15 minutes (no food
processor!) and I put it in the pre-heating oven to rise while I chop the
veggies and grate the cheese. Homemade pizza in 30 minutes - even a frozen
pizza takes about the same time.


Jean
--
Remove .remv to reply directly.


JMH

unread,
Feb 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/23/99
to Althea
Althea wrote:
>
> <lots of friendly snippage to save space>
>
> I admire your lifestyle and hope to someday have the space to do something
> similar. Currently, I make most things from scratch, keeping fresh
> ingredients on hand. I sew alot of my clothes, and knit socks for us. I bake
> all our bread (got some rye going now), and Tom makes beer. (We're going to
> try wine soon.) I'm looking into canning, too. My mom bought me a pressure
> cooker/canner for that purpose, and my breadmaker makes jams and jellies.

I think the thing to remember is that lifestyles such as yours and mine
do not happen overnight. We made one change or added one new thing each
year rather than attempting to do it all at one time and burning out.
My goals eventually are to add a beehive, learn quilting, make wine,
etc.

>
> Your comments made me think of the first time I grew tomatoes. When the
> first one was ready, I picked it, washed and when I got ready to cut into it
> and eat it I couldn't. It was like I was doing this to my own child. I mean,
> I had watered it, fed it, protected it, and now I was going to eat it. It
> was very weird! I got over the feeling quickly, because I love tomatoes so
> much, but I love to tell the story. Most people think it's kind of odd, so
> do I.
>

I don;t think it is odd. It is a pride in doing something yourself.
THat is why I can what I grow because then I have the pleasure of seeing
the fruits of my labors stocking the shelves for months and then I get
to eat them.

Anyway, I answered this post to offer some ideas for a first, small
garden to readers. I had such success with my raised beds and was asked
so often about them that several years ago I wrote up a brochure to give
to people to do their own. WIth some modification, here it is:

A VEGETABLE GARDEN FOR EVERYONE by Jeanne Hinds

I believe more people would garden if they only knew an efficient way
to do it. Visions of rototillers, backbreaking weeding and more zuchini
than the world truly needs clouds the minds of many would-be gardeners.
I would like to introduce you to a method of gardening that will set you
free from “row” gardening and provide you with just the right amount of
veggies. It’s called raised bed Square Foot gardening.
There is a book called Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew whose
ideas I have refined to fit my needs. I get asked frequently just how
my garden is laid out so I decided to write it down. Square foot
gardening is based on square foot blocks within a garden space in
contrast to the traditional method of rows. These blocks allow you to
get more plants in the space provided. The net result is more veggies
per square feet of gardening, easier weeding and maintenence and it
looks good too.
Due to our hard-packed southern red clay, I also prefer to use raised
garden beds. Because I mix up the soil, I get a nice garden that
requires little weeding and has healthy plants. Raised beds are neat
and you don’t have to stoop over as much to weed. I am totally sold on
raised beds because of the ease of use. Let’s get started!

RAISED BED PREPARATION

A raised bed can be made from any type of wood although some people
prefer to not use treated wood due to the chemicals used to preserve
it. Depending on who is conducting the research, studies have shown
arsenic and cyanide being leached into the garden soil or shown no
conclusive evidence of this happening. I have used untreated pine and
had it last about four to six years in this climate. Cypress, locust
and red wood are naturally resistant to termites and rot and therefore
last longer.

The simplest bed to make requires purchasing three 8’ X 1’ X 1”
boards. Cut one of the boards in half so that you have two four foot
sections. Simply nail the ends of the boards together forming an 8’ X
4’ frame. Lay this frame on the ground where you wish your garden to
be. Try to choose a spot with as much sunlight during the day as
possible. Prior to laying your bed in position, you may wish to cut the
grass very short or spray Round-up. If you do use Round-up, you cannot
plant anything for two weeks. I have never done anything since the
depth of the soil (12 inches) discourages anything from popping up
anyway.

SOIL PREPARATION

Now you need some soil to put into your garden frame. Don’t just dig
up some soil near your house and throw it in there. The soil in this
area has a lot of clay in it which makes it very difficult to grow
anything in it. Instead, make your own soil. Here’s the recipe for a
8’ X 4’ X 1’ garden frame:

1 bale of peat moss (6 cubic feet)
3 bags of top soil (a total of 9 cu. feet)
Sand (6 cu. feet)
5 gallons wood ashes
4 lbs lime
Organic compost (6 cu. ft.)

It seems like a lot of sand but it really isn’t. Your garden needs
sand in it to provide air pockets for the roots to breathe and to
provide good drainage. Wood ashes can be obtained by knocking on your
neighbors’ doors and offering to clean the ash from their fireplaces.
Organic compost is decomposed organic products. We make our own compost
by merely piling up grass clippings, shredded fall leaves. I don’t turn
it or do anything special except add more stuff to it. After six months
of fermenting in my backyard, I have good compost. Virtually every
riding stable in the area has a pile of horse manure they would be more
than happy for you to take away. Just remember, good compost looks
nothing like its original state. Another option is to make friends with
someone with rabbits. Rabbit poops can be put right on your garden as
natural fertilizer. If desperate, just buy bags of cow manure from the
nursery.
Mix this together in your frame and mix well with a shovel. Spray with
water occassionally during the mixing.

(If you only wanted a 4X4 raised bed, then the soil recipe above would
be cut in half. A 4X4 bed would fit 2 tomato plants, 2 pepper plants,
and cucumber cage with 8 plants.)

PLANTING YOUR GARDEN

Most would-be gardeners want the standard vegetables in their garden
such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. The garden I have designed
also has parsley and flowers. I didn’t plan on any zuchini or squash
since they take up a great deal of space.
Your 8x4 garden has 32 square feet or blocks of planting space. If you
need to mark these blocks with strings or sticks to help you visualize
then do it! Plants need a certain amount of space or blocks to grow.
For example: tomatoes require four blocks or four square feet to grow
whereas a pepper plant can fit into one block.
There are two structures you need to build to support your tomatoes and
cucumbers. Purchase a roll of six foot high dog fencing wire. Cut into
two five foot lengths and make two round cages. These are for your
tomatoes. Those store-bought tomato cages are a joke since they are too
tiny to support the eight foot tomato vines.
I have grown my cucs on a tomato cage as well and simply planted the
seeds on the perimeter of the cage.

I like to buy most of my vegetables already sprouted from the nursery.
The following is the space requirements of various plants.

* Tomatoes - 1 per four square feet. Sweet 100 is a wonderful species
of cherry tomato. I stopped counting at 300 tomatoes from my two
plants. Celebrity is my favorite regular tomato - it has a classic
tomato taste. Buy from nursery. Two tomato plants are plenty for a
family.

* Cucumbers - 2 per square foot if done on a fence or 8 per four square
feet if done on a tomato cage. I like Park’s Bush Whopper. Plant seeds
along fence/cage and help vines to climb fence as they get bigger. Those
cute Jack Be Little tiny pumpkins can also be grown the same way as
cucumbers.

* Peppers - 1 per square foot. Buy from nursery.

* Parsley - 4 per square foot. I use the curly type. Buy from nursery.

* Dwarf Marigolds - 4 per square foot. Buy from nursery.

* Beets - 16 plants per square foot

* Carrots - 16 plants per square foot

* Eggplant - 1 plant per square foot

* Onions - 16 plants per square foot. Vidalia onions are the only way
to go!

* Radishes - 16 plants per square foot

* Spinach - 16 plants per square foot


* Remember to water your raised bed frequently since it dries out
quicker.
* Each March, add about a 1/2 lb. each of blood meal and bone meal to
your bed and mix in. Add new compost each year as well.
* April 15th is the last frost date for our area. Plant your veggies
after this date.


--
**********************************************************************
Jeanne's Wedding Info Page -
http://www.mindspring.com/~thinds/jmh/wedinfo.htm
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -
http://www.mindspring.com/~thinds/advocate
The Gang of Steves FAQ http://
www.mindspring.com/~thinds/jmh/gosfaq.htm

Wende A. Feller

unread,
Feb 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/23/99
to
JMH wrote:
>
> Anyway, I answered this post to offer some ideas for a first, small
> garden to readers. I had such success with my raised beds and was asked
> so often about them that several years ago I wrote up a brochure to give
> to people to do their own.

Jeanne, do you know anything about planting vegetables and flowers
specifically to help remediate soil or air quality? I've heard of this
being done but can't think of any good way to look it up. We have a
patch of weeds out back, between our parking lot and the neighbors'
parking lot, that I want to plant this year -- Phil doesn't really want
to eat the kinds of vegetables that grow readily in Minnesota, but I'd
like to do a little bit to improve the local environment. There is a lot
of lead build-up in the soil here, plus neighbors have been cutting down
their back bushes, making the alley hot, dusty, and full of carbon
monoxide fumes. Anyone tried this???

Wende

Alison

unread,
Feb 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/23/99
to
JMH wrote:
>
>Jeanne,
Thanks for all the valuable info!!!
I used to grow vegetables at my parents' place when I was a kid....I
still remember those fresh veggies.
Now we're in an apartment so we grow a few things on the balcony
(tomatoes, peppers) but I can't wait for the house so we can grow a lot
more. I actually really enjoy gardening. It's so soothing/relaxing.
Thanks again,
Alison

Nyman

unread,
Feb 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/23/99
to
jess h. wrote in message <7avarg$srm$3...@murrow.corp.sgi.com>...
>JMH (jmh...@mindspring.com) wrote:
>OK, this reminds me: I have a small square of dirt in the corner of my
>patio, and I've been planning to plant something in it this spring.
>Last year we just grew weeds, but it looks like the soil is in pretty
>good condition, so I thought I'd give gerdening a try this year.
>
>The square is about 4 feet long on each side, surrounded by a tall fence
>on two sides. I'd like to plant some herbs so I can use them to cook
>with, but I was also thinking of planting something else along the fence
>(16 square feet seems like alot for herbs, plus the area by the fence is
>a little harder to get to for snipping herbs). Any ideas? It gets some
>good light in the morning, but because there's an overhang on part of
>the patio, it mostly gets indirect sunlight.


You should go and get this months Martha Stewart magazine. It is totally
devoted to gardening and an invaluable source of information to me.

Liz

Alison

unread,
Feb 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/23/99
to
Jessica,
I would suggest going to your local garden centre to get ideas of what
you can grow there. They can let you know what works well in indirect
sunlight. We grew peppers and tomatoes on our balcony that doesn't get
sun all day (there's an overhang) but the herbs I tried to grow didn't
do so well. I would also suggest that even though the soil "looks"
good, you might want to add some fertilizer/manure/peatmoss etc. before
you plant.
Good Luck.....Alison

jess h. wrote:
>
> JMH (jmh...@mindspring.com) wrote:
> : Anyway, I answered this post to offer some ideas for a first, small


> : garden to readers. I had such success with my raised beds and was asked
> : so often about them that several years ago I wrote up a brochure to give
> : to people to do their own. WIth some modification, here it is:
>

> OK, this reminds me: I have a small square of dirt in the corner of my
> patio, and I've been planning to plant something in it this spring.
> Last year we just grew weeds, but it looks like the soil is in pretty
> good condition, so I thought I'd give gerdening a try this year.
>
> The square is about 4 feet long on each side, surrounded by a tall fence
> on two sides. I'd like to plant some herbs so I can use them to cook
> with, but I was also thinking of planting something else along the fence
> (16 square feet seems like alot for herbs, plus the area by the fence is
> a little harder to get to for snipping herbs). Any ideas? It gets some
> good light in the morning, but because there's an overhang on part of
> the patio, it mostly gets indirect sunlight.
>

> - Jessica
>
> -----------------------------------
> Please remove ".remv" to reply
> -----------------------------------

Rachel Sanfordlyn Shreckengast

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Feb 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/24/99
to
Jessica,


> I'd like to plant some herbs so I can use them to cook
> with, but I was also thinking of planting something else along the fence
> (16 square feet seems like alot for herbs, plus the area by the fence is
> a little harder to get to for snipping herbs). Any ideas? It gets some
> good light in the morning, but because there's an overhang on part of
> the patio, it mostly gets indirect sunlight.

I'm not Jeanne, but can possibly help with herbs. I'm in Pennsylvania,
and your growing seasons and even plants may well be different than those that
I can grow well in my area. A few quick tips that I've learned with my herb
gardens. All of mine are grown in an area with indirect sunlight.

Mint of any kind is high maitenance for me. It tries to take over the yard,
and can not be contained. If I were to plant it again, I would plant pot and
all. It might contain things a bit better.
Basil grew better in direct sun. It was very scraggly in indirect sunlight.
Same with chammomile.
Parsley grew well, but would probably do better in direct sun, I'll try it
next year.
Oregano wasn't as bad as the mint, but without cutting it back every two
weeks, it might have been.

I grow other herbs, but those are the ones that I almost always grow and
have the most experience with. Most herbs tend to grow easily from seed
(parsley is probably easier with plants, but I've never had a problem), and if
you have a dehydrator...it will be running constantly throughout the summer
(or longer if you live in a more temperate climate)....I am usually able to
harvest decent sized batches once a week.

By the way Jeanne, thanks for the info on raised beds, I do a few veggies
every year but would like to get a decent garden going once we get a house. I
have a friend who does raised bed gardening. One neat thing she did (if I can
explain it!) was make a raised bed with two levels. The first level is about
6 inches of the ground and the second about a foot (it looks like an
unfinished pyramid w/2 steps). There's only about 6 inches or so of planting
space between the two heights (with the larger height having a larger area).
She uses that area for strawberries, radishes and carrots. It's the perfect
set-up to insure that she can easily harvest them. An interesting method, but
I have to admit harvesting is much easier (and the strawberries stay off of
the often wet ground around here and last longer). Oh it also controls size
if that's of interest. I also like to buy most of my veggies as plants,
harvesting time rolls around much more quickly (I don't like to wait in the
case of garden fresh tomatoes!).

As for quilting, just start with something simple. It's relatively easy
to do if you start with blocks. Draw up a simple pattern. It's all straight
stitch sewing with squares, and triangles. It's easier to do by machine if
you want something faster. It's easier (but more time consuming) to do by
hand if you don't want to deal with bunches of fabric. You take the finished
top (all the squares you've sewn together), and add batting between that and a
bottom layer (could be a flat sheet if you want). Then you can tie it off or
quilt it. To tie it off, you can put knots at each corner of your blocks
(through all three layers). Surgeon's knots work best for durability (my
opinion). If you want to quilt it, you can quilt using straight lines to keep
it simple. A block pattern looks fine (straight lines up, then straight lines
down) and is probably easiest. Again through all three layers. Binding it is
hardest for me...and I still don't have that down pat, but you can take
shortcuts there. One lady I know simply makes the quilt a bit larger and
folds it in on itself, but other ways look better. Check out the quilting
newsgroup (the name escapes me at the moment, if you want it email me and I'll
look it up for you) as they are much better at explaining them. Also, there
are plenty of beginner quilting sites on the web with all kinds of nifty
patterns and ideas.

Can't help you with wine-making (I'm awful at regular wine, but I do make
pretty good mead...honey wine, found the recipe on the internet *somewhere*
years ago). Beehives...eeks, can't help there either, I'm allergic to the
stings and afraid to try that one, even if fresh honey is highly tempting.

Best,
Rachel (who is STILL learning the process of canning, only doing water bath
style for now)
--
Weddings @ The Mining Co.: http://weddings.miningco.com
Wedding Frugality: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/1940/
WedSense: http://www.wednet.com/wedsense/wedsense.asp

JMH

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Feb 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/24/99
to
Rachel Sanfordlyn Shreckengast wrote:

> Mint of any kind is high maitenance for me. It tries to take over the yard,
> and can not be contained. If I were to plant it again, I would plant pot and
> all. It might contain things a bit better.
> Basil grew better in direct sun. It was very scraggly in indirect sunlight.
> Same with chammomile.
> Parsley grew well, but would probably do better in direct sun, I'll try it
> next year.
> Oregano wasn't as bad as the mint, but without cutting it back every two
> weeks, it might have been.

Oregano will overrun your garden and you will never get it all out so I
suggest strongly the use of seperate pots for oregano, mint. I have
mint all along the back yard fence and we will never get it out. I grow
dill, parsley, sage, chives and mint.

Most plants can do OK with a minimal amount of sun. I grew tomatoes in
a raised bed years ago that only got 3 hours of sun a day compared to
the 8 -10 hours that was recommended. They were quite leggy and tall
but did produce enough tomatoes from four plants that I was able to
share with two neighbors. Excellent soil can compensate for limited
amounts of sun. Poor soil and poor sun will yield you little.

> By the way Jeanne, thanks for the info on raised beds, I do a few veggies
> every year but would like to get a decent garden going once we get a house. I
> have a friend who does raised bed gardening.

The nice thing about raised beds is that if you like one then it easy to
expand to two, then three, etc.... I went from one to then three beds
and then five beds that I used to grow veggies intensively. I then
switched to a much larger garden which was plowed with a dick harrow or
rototiller but to be honest, I think I am going back to all raised beds
in that larger garden too. The soil remains fluffy, it is easily weeded
and the garden looks tidy. I used a stirrup hoe (God's gift to
gardeners) to weed out the winter weeds from my five 8X4 raised beds in
less than a half hour a week ago.

TH other advantage of raised beds is that you have instant great soil as
opposed to taking years to amend depleted soil before you get great
results. The soil recipe I gave in the previous post will produce great
soil for immediate great results.


>
> As for quilting, just start with something simple.

<good advice sniped>

I know how to do it , it is just finding the time to do it. I have bags
and bags of scraps from other sewing projects and two completed tops
that need batting and quilting but I tend to be the kind of person who
flits from one project to another because I get bored easily. I always
finish my projects that I start but I don;t focus on one project to the
exclusion of the others. I typically have three projects going at once
and rotate among them. I've done large quilted wall hangings as
wedding gifts (mostly the applique method and not pieced) but haven;t
done anything in years for myself.

Beehives...eeks, can't help there either, I'm allergic to the
> stings and afraid to try that one, even if fresh honey is highly tempting.

Unfortunately beekeeping has become a necessity if you are going to
garden or grow fruit due to the near extinction of feral honeybees from
mite infestations. People don;t realize how important bees are to
proper vegetable and fruit growth, productivity and size. Misshapen and
small fruits and veggies are more due to insufficient visits by bees to
the flower than any other factor. I am not into the honey but rather
the pollination of my fruits and veggies.

JMH

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Feb 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/24/99
to
Wende A. Feller wrote:

> Jeanne, do you know anything about planting vegetables and flowers
> specifically to help remediate soil or air quality? I've heard of this
> being done but can't think of any good way to look it up. We have a
> patch of weeds out back, between our parking lot and the neighbors'
> parking lot, that I want to plant this year -- Phil doesn't really want
> to eat the kinds of vegetables that grow readily in Minnesota, but I'd
> like to do a little bit to improve the local environment. There is a lot
> of lead build-up in the soil here, plus neighbors have been cutting down
> their back bushes, making the alley hot, dusty, and full of carbon
> monoxide fumes. Anyone tried this???
>
> Wende

Before you plant vegetables back there, contact your local horticulture
extension agent and have a soil test done. Soil tests are free, in most
cases, and if you have a high amount of lead in your soil, this may
restrict you from using that area for growing food crops. Personally I
do not use pressure treated lumber in my raised beds because I do not
want to eat the arsenic the treated lumber leaches into the soil.

There has been some research into using earthworms to clean up toxic
septic areas. Healthy soil is alive with microorganisms and nematodes
which naturally clean the soil on an ongoing basis. The key is to
aerate the soil, provide organic material to "feed" the micororganisms
and water. I would suggest a raised bed with new soil it, adding
earthworms (you can buy them in bulk) and if you cannot have vegetables
due to the lead content, plant Buddelia bushes otherwise known as
Butterfly bushes. They get 10 to 12 feet tall, are covered in blooms all
summer long and are highly attractive to butterflies. There are annuals
and perennials which are also highly attractive to butterflies if you
didn't want to commit to bushes.

Over time, you could have the soil repeatedly tested to see how it is
improving and maybe then switch to veggies when the soil is less
toxic.

willia...@aol.com

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Aug 19, 2013, 10:58:37 PM8/19/13
to
I completely agree Alison. Hope your doing well. www.gardenbags.net
On Thursday, February 11, 1999 8:00:00 AM UTC, beemer wrote:
> Hi All,
> Sometimes I feel guilty for the "shortcuts" I take in cooking. I'm 35
> yrs. old and maybe a little older than some of you here so maybe it's a
> generational thing. I don't know.
> My mother used to cook dinner every night even though she never liked
> cooking that much. She cooked everything basically from scratch. She
> made casseroles, spaghetti, pot roast etc.. It was never anything fancy
> but good, wholesome food.
> These days, you can buy premade sauces in jars, frozen vegetables with
> sauce already added, packaged dinners where you just add the meat,
> packages of dry seasoning with directions for stir frys, noodles &
> sauce, frozen lasagna etc.... You get my drift.....
> It is fairly easy to whip up dinner in 30 minutes and make nothing from
> scratch anymore.
> I do cook from scratch when I'm home during the day/weekends because I
> enjoy cooking. When I'm working or very busy, I resort to the packages
> of seasoning that you can mix up for stir frys etc.... I have also
> started making the packages of scalloped potatoes (which Steve loves)
> even though I used to make great scalloped potatoes from scratch.
> I know this is common in today's busy society, both couples working but
> I wonder if we're losing something in the process.
> Just to get a little philosophical about it......we also all used to eat
> around the kitchen table as a family. Steve and I tend to eat in front
> of the tv.
> And how many more chemicals are we digesting because of all the packaged
> stuff? Wasn't it more healthy to eat the way we did as kids (at least
> as I did as a kid)?
> Just my thoughts.........Alison

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