Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Made from scratch

People frequently ask me why we bother to make most everything we eat from scratch. This seems to bother these people. They treat me as if I have lost my way and they need to help me...or maybe it is my senses that they think I've lost. I can't imagine why it bothers them, they don't have to grow the food, can the food, freeze the food, dehydrate the food, grind the wheat, bake the bread, flake the oats, churn the butter, work the cheese or cook the meals...but it REALLY bothers them.

I'll try to explain how we started down this path. When my second son was born I knew right away that he had a dairy allergy. If I drank so much as 1/4 cup milk, he reacted. So...for one year, I ate NO dairy products...a horrible experience I assure you. As he grew, we found he had other allergies, lots of them. This required some work, trying to find foods he could eat without getting sick. Now, some people might think this was a very bad thing. I did myself at first. But, looking back I can see how God took something bad and turned it into something very good. (Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.) God had a purpose for those allergies!

It turns out that my son is not allergic to all those foods we thought he was allergic was the chemicals, dyes, preservatives etc. that caused the allergic reactions. Now, let me state that we did not buy "junk food" at the grocery store. No sugary cereals, toaster pastries, frozen dinners etc. We bought the "healthy" stuff. But when the USDA has approved over 800,000 chemicals (read that again...800,000!) for our food supply can it truly be healthy? Any of it? When a glass of milk can have traces of hundreds of different you want to drink it?

Now, God is very gracious and gentle when He leads us down new paths. If God had sat me down and told me 7 years ago..."beginning tomorrow you will grow all your own food, bake your own bread, make your own cereals, raise your own meat, make your own cheese etc."....well, as Grandma use to say "I'm just gonna lay me down and die".

God showed us one area at a time, like a gentle parent leading a child. What a gracious God we serve! We began with a garden that has just expanded a little every year. We began keeping bees for honey. We started grinding wheat and baking our own breads. We planted an apple orchard. A little further down the road we started making our own cereals. This year we hope to add a berry patch. Each year I preserve a little more of what we have been doing and we try to add something new to the list.

How do you explain why you bake 8 loaves of bread every Monday when "you can buy a loaf of bread for $1 at the store"? (Apparently the bread thing bothers these people a lot!) Because it tastes so good! Because it is so nutritious.....because there are NO chemicals of any kind in my bread! Because I don't have to watch my son suffer anymore with headaches that were completely debilitating or see him go through the other symptoms of allergic reactions.

The time involved in living this life also seems to bother these people. "How do you find the time?" they cry. Well, we don't watch t.v. (an occasional family video night is the exception). We stay home... a lot . Except for church, the kids aren't involved in lots of activities that keep us running around and take away from family time. We all work just about everything.

Is it worth it? You bet it is! Our health has improved tremendously! Our food tastes wonderful and I know it is more nutritious! If there was a huge disaster, or my hubby lost his job...we'd be o.k. Add homeschooling into the mix and I get to be with my kids most of the time. Working together to accomplish common goals and playing together (family game nights are big in our house) builds strong relationships with your kids.

The kids enjoy walking through the grocery store and naming all the things we don't need to buy anymore. It is so satisfying every time you take a little step towards more self sufficiency. It makes them feel good that they have participated in providing these things. They have extracted honey from the hives and worked the bees throughout the year. They have picked the apples and cranked the mill to turn them into sauce. They helped grow and pick the tomatoes and milled them into spaghetti sauce and ketcup.

And these is so funny to me... what bothers them about our lifestyle they are quick to enjoy..."got any homemade ice cream in the freezer?"...."I love homemade bread!"...."This applesauce tastes so different"..."this chicken is delicious"..."I can't wait for eggs in the morning"... I just smile....made from scratch!

I thank God for my son's allergies...look what they have wrought in our lives! Great blessings!


  1. I grind my own grain and bake my own bread. Besides all the other advantages, it smells so good! Those things make me feel like I'm a "real" mom, and not an imitation of a mom. I wouldn't trade that for a $1 loaf of bread anyway!


  2. Vicki,
    Isn't it amazing what satisfaction comes from working with our hands to provide for our families? I agree with you...$1 can't buy that!

  3. This is a great post! I have just started making everything from scratch for me and my husband too (we don't have any kids yet). I am enjoying it immensly! Thanks also for your previous post on bread. I'm going to try it soon(scaled down for the two of us, of course!) Would you mind sharing how you make your own cereal? I've recently started making my own granola (with oats, honey, butter, and raisins). My husband enjoys this as his cereal when I don't have time to fry eggs for our breakfast. What is your cereal recipe?

  4. Wonderful post. I could have written it myself minus the allergies. My husband just got a hair brained idea seven years ago to get a cow. I am working on a website that highlights a lot of what you are saying. I am finding more and more people making negative comments less. They are actually wanting to learn to do a lot of this on their own. The part we emphasize is the joy of doing the work and the memories we create. It is really contagious and folks are lining up wanting to know how to do it. So hence the website explaining it all. Soon I will be anouncing it on my blog and moving all blogging over there. Thanks for this post. Awesome.

  5. Farmgirl:

    Great post! This is the kind of provocation to good deeds to which I was referring in the last paragraph.

    BTW, Thanks for the link!

  6. Farm Girl,

    Thanks so much for this post. Given the amount of time you spend in the kitchen, any post at all from you is a blessing! Our family has allergies too.. hmmmm.. now where did I put that grain grinder..

  7. Farm Girl,

    This strikes a chord with me. We have been starting to go to Whole Foods cooking - making our own, from crackers to ketchup, to bbq sauce.

    I notice that people get upset when you do something "extra" that they don't do themselves. Maybe they feel like you are saying "if you cared about your family" or maybe they feel guilt that they should do it. Personally, since money is so tight around here, I never feel it is "so easy" to buy a loaf of bread, besides, the only bread that is $1 here is storebrand wonderbread.

    It is an interesting phenomenon, though.

    I feel as though I have so much to learn from you and other women on the web!

  8. Margaret, I will try to post some cereal recipes soon...

    Milkmaid, I can't wait to see what you come up with, I know it will be good! You inspire me :)

    JFC, thanks for the kind words...I am enjoying your blog!

    Balestacker, did your bread turn out? ;) about sharing your recipes for bbq sauce and crackers?


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