Reading each issue of BHM gives me a little more hope in knowing that there are others who share the ideas I consider just good common sense. As our government leaders make only more and more damaging decisions that will affect our country, particularly economically, it is such a help to not only feel less isolated, but to also read some practical advice in how to respond and take care of ourselves, our friends, and families.
We have been blessed that my husband has been able to earn enough to supply us with a nice home and amenities. (I’m thrilled with my double oven and air conditioning.) But reading your magazine helps me feel better prepared to face the inevitable worsening down-turn in our economy. We have already seen a huge decrease in salary, but thanks to having some skills learned in years past- some from your magazine- I have not had to worry that we can still have enough to eat and a way to heat our home. I’ve never felt it wise to think that we will always be able to buy what we want when we want it, and even though we didn’t learn many of these skills because we truly had to, I’m so glad God did somehow give us the interest in learning. Things like gardening, canning and preserving, raising livestock, sewing, orcharding, wine- and beer-making, etc. are almost second nature and don’t seem like a hardship at all. In fact, I can taste the quality of the results of our labor every day. My husband would put our Gewurztraminer wine and our peach salsa up against any commercial brand any time! My family prefers homemade ginger ale and “plain” home cooking over most restaurants and commercially prepared food. Folks who used to tease me about my shelves of home-canned foods, big gardens, bulk supplies of flour and other things, aren’t laughing now.
How invaluable is your magazine in giving so much practical advice and information in all of these skills! Though some readers have been doing some of these tasks for years, there is no way to ever know it all, and we can always learn more from one another. The humility with which you share your knowledge is also very refreshing. Even the features addressing the more ideological side of issues are not delivered with the typical arrogance I find in many other columns from other sources.
To change the subject completely, I thought I’d add a suggestion to Linda Gabris’ “Homemade premixed foods” feature in the May/June, 2009 issue. I found that adding about 1 teaspoon of salt to the oatmeal mix really improved the flavor, and I’d highly recommend it as long as one is not on a reduced sodium diet. Adding a few drops of maple extract when cooking the oatmeal works nicely, too. I used regular rolled oats, which I processed in the food processor for about 45 seconds, instead of the instant oats, since we can buy the regular oats in bulk more economically than instant or quick oats. I tried and loved the basic biscuit mix! Though I could technically have reduced the baking powder slightly since using buttermilk, keeping the amount as listed gave us the fluffiest biscuits I’ve ever made. Thanks!
In the “Ask Jackie” column, I wondered if the reader asking about carbonated beverages was asking how to make homemade soda with the intensity of seltzer water, rather than just carbonated water. Though homemade sodas are slightly fermented to create the carbonation, the alcohol by-product is truly negligible. Though sanitation is important, making homemade sodas is rather easy, particularly using commercial extracts and the correct yeast. The soda can be ready in as little as 2-3 days, and the results are worth the little effort.
Thank you for a job so very well done! Each of your contributors does a terrific job of offering practical and timely advice and instruction.
Sam’s Valley, Oregon