Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Simple Stuff

I was probably born into the wrong family. Line me up against my three siblings and I’m the odd-one-out weirdo. I know that everyone thinks this and it is openly acknowledged via conversational blunders. I’m the Left-Winged, Knitting, Steiner-Friendly, Hippy. None of this matters and to be frank, I enjoy inducing family eye-rolls, bemused to be labelled ‘eccentric’.

I am telling you all this, because I have noticed some changes in my thinking in the last years that have nothing to do with my upbringing or family influence. They have everything to do with gut instinct. With the exception for a preference for, ahem, extravagant yarn, I am noticing that my tastes are all about the simple. While one of my brothers prefers life with state-of-the-art, size-of-a-footy-pitch TV, we’re still running dinky analogue around here. We haven’t hauled ourselves into the modern televisual world because I haven’t found one left by the side of the road that is small enough and I can’t be bothered visiting horrid department stores and feigning interest.

I performed a couple of (entirely elegant) celebratory cartwheels, when Jodi announced my giveaway win of the book by Arabella Forge, Frugavore. For someone attracted to a ‘simple’ life, a book that helps me provide nourishing, locally grown (or from our garden) food for my family – food that does not compromise on quality, is mindful of food miles, the budget and wastes nothing... well that is a book that preaches to this converted.

No longer do I purchase chook thighs but rather the whole kit and kaboodle and that entire kit and kaboodle is put to use. My kids can smell the chicken stock simmering from a mile off and even the eldest with attitude comes over excitable over a taste test. There is such a pleasure to be found in the use of everything, the waste of nothing – and with a bit of imagination, a whole chook feeding a family two meals and school lunches.

The Mr has been signed up to keeping slightly livelier chooks for a long time and Arabella may be tipping the scales in his favour. We’re scheduled in for chookminding the school flock first. As the Mr bides his time, he has his nose in Frugavore consulting the compost and gardening section, between venturing outside to sing to his ripening tomatoes (or whatever it is he does).

Whether it’s to consult the recipe section or the eco-friendly cleaning section or learning about excitables such as tumbler bin composting, Frugavore has already provided inspiration in small changes and planned bigger ones around here.

As I have been typing, the Mr has been up a ladder, apple picking.

He has heaped laundry baskets full of them and I have the perfect excuse to ignore the washing today.

Instead we’ll be concentrating on cooking up this crop. There may be a grovelling email to this Lovely to request the scrumptious, made-up-as-she-went-along recipe for apple jam. There’s apple sauce and crumbles to be made and anything else we can come up with...


Damn, you lot are so FABULOUS. You commenty types, you who let on to not one eye-roll at my last post — THANK YOU. Not for not eye-rolling but for offering encouragement and ‘hang-in-there’s’ and useful suggestions involving vino. Saved the day, you did...


Stomper Girl said...

We still have analogue tv too, seems stupid to throw out a perfectly good telly.

Not sure I'm ready to stop buying a tray of chicken thighs yet, but I do make my own stock whenever I cook a bone.

I feel bad for not having said anything on your last post, I remember reading it and wanting to think about it before commenting, but that's probably not a recommended thing to do when you're as vague as me. We didn't have too much angst at 9 but I do know that both my kids completely wig out during a growth spurt. If I have a difficult week with one of them I always measure them and sure enough, they've added a cm (or more) to their height. Well, you think about how emotional and tiring pregnancy aka growing another human is and it stands to reason that growing yourself would take it out of the kidlets.

Bree said...

apple sorbet.... yummmmmmm

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

and if all that cooking fails you have some glorious apple pictures!

Glad you felt better after reading everyones comments yesterday... my two cents worth which I didn't write yesterday but will now... they always come back... having watched mates whose kids are difficult for a while they always come good again... Busy seems to go in about 3 weekly cycles, good for three hard for one.... ( or maybe thta has more to do with MY cycled...ahem...)

Jodi said...

oh so very well put Tania. I'm delighted you won the giveaway...frugavore has gone to the best kind of home. happy apple creating and making x

ps. I made a big batch of chicken stock yesterday - added a handful of flat leaf parsley and it worked a treat. On busy days I've been pulling the stock from the freezer in the morning and simply adding a few vegies and noodles at night. The healthiest, most nourishing vegie and noodle soup ever. give it a try x

Carmel's Closet said...

This post made me chuckle. We live in a house where there is nothing wrong with analogue too. As long as it's working, it's working for us.
This book sounds fabulous. I'm jealous of all the lovely apple things you will be making. Delicious. Enjoy.

NessaKnits said...

We still have the TV we bought when we got married in 1995 and at the moment (we are renting for 12 months) we have decided not to get the aerial fixed ... so it is no ABC3 and kids playing outdoors and we are loving it!

Nikki said...

I think I'd better get me that book and ... ahem... write down that recipe.

Oh no - someone at Blogger HQ is playing funny-buggers with the word verifications today. I just got INANE.....!

Squiggly Rainbow said...

Hello! Wow, I fee like I wrote most of that last post! I feel like I am the eccentric one in both my husband and my family and even alot of our old friends.

Life is evolving how I chose it to now. We have moved to The Dandenongs so we can lead that Steinery - knitting, small school, growing vegetables life. I am oh so happy to be able to be me - not how I was raised, but who I was created to be!

If you have time, would love you to pop over to my blog!
Rach xo

Lola Nova said...

Apple Butter (personal favorite)
Apple Strudel
Apple Cake
Dried Apples
Apple Pie Filling
Baked Apples
Apple Salad
Apple Brown Betty
Apple Crisp
Apple Pickles
Apple Chutney
Apple Turnovers
Apple Jelly
Apple Jam
Apple Jacks

yardage girl said...

Apple Crumble, Baked Apples stuffed with Date & Nuts and Apple Jelly - delish!

Cinnamon said...

Apple butter in the crock pot takes not much prep, can be left alone all day, and makes the house smell loverly.

And now I'm off to find myself that book.

Ruth said...

Mel said...

Mmmmm all that apple-y goodness! Yum!

Very glad to hear the Mr is interested in the endevours as well - I think that's crucial. The person I get the eye rolls from about my worm farm, not housing things in plastic bags, not buying overly packaged snacks etc etc is the Mr!!

Speaking of worm farms I get a ridiculous level of excitement the other day when I finally changed over their trays to find a whole tray FULL of delicious (?) castings! I'm not even going to tell the Mr about that little happy dance!

Enjoy the apple cooking!

mel @ loved handmade said...

Easy as Upsidedown apple tart!! I just saw this in the most recent country style mag, which as my life simplifies, was the last one I will recieve as my pre-paid subscription has come to an's true, life is easy (and cheaper) when we simplify. My family eye roll me too. My nature loving, preservative free, minimal fancy electronic family that I am raising. They think it's wierd, but it feels right to me. Also if it's any consolation I'm sure a 16yr old drama queen has inhabbited our 9yr olds body somehow, of my goodness the looks he gives, the 'tude, arghhhh...

Kitty said...

I'm the weirdo in my family too. They've moved on from the eye roll to the "furrowing of the brows, eyes widening, oh my god is she serious" look.
Heh, I don't think I even notice half the time.
We got our analogue on the side of the rd. Only use it for movies, though. There's no tv reception out here in nowheresville. Lucky, I can't stand it.
The only way for a content life is to do the things you truly believe in. So frugavore it is. That book sounds ace, it's on the wishlist.
Unfortunately I have no advice for the mothering of young ladies. But I agree with what Andi said, "the best parent is the one who never stops trying". I think that's what she said anyway. Believe it.
Have a super day stewing your apple laundry. I vote for crumble & dried apples (you can bake with them later).

Chris said...

We don't have a tv at all :-) And apples, try this:

2 kg peeled, cored and sliced apples
1 kg brown sugar
juice from 4 lemons
250 gr butter
1 vanilla pod

Melt the sugar until caramelised, add apples, finely chopped vanilla pod and lemon juice. Stir at reasonable high heat until the apples start juicing. Turn it down and leave to bubble, adjust sugar if necessary. When the apples have gone opague, take off heat, leave to cool for 5 mins, add butter. Put into clean jars and kep in fridge. Eat within 2 months, delicious!!

Umatji said...

yup, no tv at all here. bad days are, well just bad but luckily generally children turn redeeming sooner or later apparently. so jealous of your win I had all fingers and toes crossed for that one. so glad you will use it well - that counts for loads.
our preseve cupboard is slowly filling...

Fer said...

I remember reading in a book "the measure of one's freedom is what one can live without". Although I don't live by that rule when it comes to fabric and yarn.... :-)

I have to admit, I do love our wide screen telly even though I hardly watch any commercial TV.

Do you have "A Year in a Bottle" by Sally Wise? There's some great recipes in there.

Tracey@bountifully said...

oooo yummy looking apples, I love, love the frugal book, so happy cooking.
Will have to go back and read the comments on your last post, as i have an 8 year old, screaming, eye rolling banshee who seems to have possessed my once charming little girl...

teddybearswednesday said...

GOd I love you!
I'm the odd one out in the family, of highly intelligent, political , major degreed family in more ways than the fact that i didn't even finish high school.
Also like you I'm a fan of the simple stuff. I'm still on analogue over here too.
I vote apple crumble, because well it's super yummy for breakfast warm with milk ( trust me on this one).
that failing always a simple apple cake or muffins ( says she the non baker)
you're the ants pants xo

Kylie said...

Have only just commented below (sorry for being so slack). Love this so much - what a wondrous book. I have no suggestions I'm afraid, just admiration :) Kx

word verification: "emocial" emotionally social?

Andi said...

I'm the odd one out in my family too!!
But I'm growing on them as I age. Apparently!
I'm glad you're the sibling I get to be mates with.
Andi xx

PS Cheddar cheese and apple sandwiches! Or peanut butter and apple sandwiches. (All the other good suggestions were taken).

zeliaevora said...

i so understand how you feel :))))

Moois van mie said...

apple pie!

A Peppermint Penguin said...

apple crisps (dried or fried, no idea how)

I really hope the Mr is singing to his tomatoes.

You are not the odd one out. It's them that's mad.


posie blogs Jennie McClelland said...

My studio television is old & seeing Canberra is the first city to go digital, i'm considering leaving well enough alone as all i seem to watch in there are DVDs anyway!!
My family, i'm the baby of 4 & let's just say with a rocket scientist, surgeon, ballerina & moi, the pharmacologist, you'd think i would NOT be the odd one out but . . . i married love not money, my neices & nephews have EVERYTHING in the world . . . yet we are the happiest couple with the 4 most polite children (manners are free) & best dressed - it's what you chose to spend your money on wisely. We just park our 16y.o. car along side the shiney new latest 4WDs & sports cars, who cares, they all get you where you need to go!!
Cookbook looks amazing, so fitting of our future, our farm life is not too far away now, big homestead, a pool & a pony, oh & solar power with an electric car too thanks. Who is the hippy now?? Green or just budget savvy?? Love Posie

Di said...

Wonderful book review- must hunt that one down, sounds totally up my alley! Will consider buying whole chooks in future, just feel daunted the carving/cutting up process, but I suppose it's a matter of practice...

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to being the weirdo out of four siblings. Alas, that is also me. Eye rolls seem to be the main form of communication in my direction. But we all do love each other dearly.

I suspect that my Prince Charming sings love ballads to our tomatoes too. Whatever he does, it's working!

Lovely post, and looks like it's a great book. I would so love to make chicken stock if I could get over the heeby jeebies in regards chicken body parts...

Megan.K. said...

I'm tempted now to get that book - looks full of good things.

Tania I just read your last post and am nodding my head to so much of what you write about.
We're in full-teen-throttle here and it's intense. I have my fingers crossed that everything I've taught her and everything I've learned myself up until this point is going to get us through these turbulent times. That the foundations have been set and that they are strong enough to withstand the storm. And, really, I don't know if there's anything more we can do as mothers except to hang on tight and let go - often simultaneously.

You and your girl will get through this stage, and all the next ones too(you know that). xo

Madeline said...

Ooh...this one just went on the wish list!
Not only do we not have a t.v., we've passed up free ones (small and large).

quirky granola girl said...

another book added to the list. we got rid of our tv when the u.s. switched to digital. don't miss it, either.

Kesha Tickets said...

Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also... Big thanks for the useful info i found on Comentari de categoria nova.