It seems inconceivable to imagine life before electric mixers, gas ovens, garbage disposals, electric carving knives and dishwashers. Give yourself and your family a reality check by foregoing modern conveniences and preparing food the old fashioned way, if only for one day.
Start a Garden
Even if you only have enough space for a pot or two of vegetables, get those veggies growing. Most children have no idea that tomatoes grow on plants and aren’t just in the grocery store. Leafy lettuces grow quickly and will be ready to harvest leaf by leaf in 30 days.
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Bake Bread and Churn Butter
Churning butter is as simple as putting heavy cream in a glass jar and shaking until the cream consolidates into butter and a leftover liquid called buttermilk. Another option is using a hand-operated eggbeater to whip the cream into butter. Bake bread from scratch without a bread machine. The technique is simple enough: combine flour, water and butter into a dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Let the bread rise to double its volume then shape into loaves. Let the bread rise again in the loaf pans until double. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Spread the freshly churned butter on the freshly baked bread.
No Modern Appliances
Turn on the microwave and five minutes later breakfast muffins have been heated. Set the timer on the electric coffee maker for piping hot coffee ready when you wake up. Now turn back the clock for an old fashion day of preparing food without modern appliances and conveniences. Use the gas or charcoal grill instead of the stove. Create an oven by using a Dutch oven with hot coals on top of the lid of the Dutch oven and placing it directly over hot coals. Remember you won’t have a garbage disposal so use kitchen waste for a compost heap. There is no refrigerator so only prepare enough for each meal. Or choose foods that will keep at room temperature for the next meal.
Kitchen Clean Up
In the olden days, water was fetched from the well, heated over a coal or wood burning stove to wash the dishes. That worked because the stove was already hot from cooking so heating the water made use of wood that would have been wasted. Towels were scrubbed over a wash board, rinsed and hung up on a clothesline to dry. The floor was swept with a broom rather than an electric mop. Recreate that environment by using a gas or charcoal grill to heat water for both the dishes and wash. Place the dishes in a bucket of hot water with added soap and rinse in a clean bucket of water.
Keep sanitary practices in place during old fashion day. Children and adults should wash their hands with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly before and after touching food. If there’s any doubt food has gone south being left out of the refrigerator don’t use it. Clean the dishes in the dishwasher the next day.
Dee Power is the author of several nonfiction books and the novel “Over Time.” Her hobbies include gardening and cooking healthy dinner recipes.