Made from Scratch

Jenna Woginrich

Made from Scratch

“The first time I held a perfect loaf of butter-top browned white bread that I'd made myself, I felt like I had just finished an eight-mile summit; it was just as rewarding and emotionally exhausting. There is some magic to it, too – the chemistry of the yeast and the brushing of melted butter over the soft dough before it goes in the oven. When it's finally baked, you can't decide if you want to chomp into it or wrap it up in paper and string and give it to the first person you make eye contact with. It's a great problem to have.”

The paragraph above comes from Jenna Woginrich's delightful, insightful book, Made from Scratch. Subtitled Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life, it's the author's recounting of how she decided to take greater control of what she ate, wore, and spent her free time – in short, her life. Through trial and error, she began to homestead in her spare time, teaching herself how to bake and to spin wool, to sew and to raise chickens and grow vegetables. Jenna continues her thoughts on bread-baking in the following passage:

“I remember holding my first loaf in awe in the winter sunlight of my Idaho kitchen. The dogs were at my feet, looking up at me with their tails wagging, hoping for an impromptu snack. But the idea of ripping into it seemed almost sacrilegious for a few holy minutes. So I stared at it like a crazy person until Annie had enough and jumped at it, teeth gnashing. Which brought me down to earth and taught me a lesson – stop acting like you did something special and dig in, lady. I set the warm bread on a plate out of the dogs' range and cut off a steaming slice. I spread on some butter and watched the edges melt into the little pores. The honesty of that first pristine country loaf made the world seem a little simpler. Outside was a cold, ice-covered place, but in my palms was a warm oasis.”

From a chapter on gardening, meditate on the following:

“Slugs. The little slimy terrorists were eating through my romaine as if they'd signed up for a farm share program. I tried a few tricks people had suggested. I put pie tins of cheap beer between the rows for them to crawl into and drown, but it didn't work as well as everyone said it would. Maybe Idaho slugs have some hesitation when it comes to certain libations. Or maybe the jerks in my garden have a slimy aunt in AGA (Alcoholic Gastropods Anonymous) and are hesitant to drink up?”

After experimenting with various means of slug control, the intrepid Ms. Woginrich brought her chickens to bear on the matter. Her small flock of Black Silkie Bantams was delighted to polish off the gastropods, and promptly became prime movers in the slug eradication scheme. Teamwork at its best! Evan if your garden isn't plagued by the little slimy creatures, you'll enjoy reading all about it!

Copyright 2009, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.