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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Simple Things Mean a lot and Pattypan Ramblings

I obtained a well known company's latest catalogue in the run up to Christmas - not the Christmas catalogue but it has some items in relation to Christmas.  In particular being a foodie I was instantly drawn to the foodie items in the catalogue to see out of interest if there was anything that took my fancy and that I had recipes for or seemingly to see if there was anything new that took my interest, if there was I could buy a jar of that which was different or unknown to me,  try it and then look for a recipe.  I am a bit of a meanie when it comes to buying preserves and besides I like to play and create my own.  

So I went tootling through said catalogue items like Damson and Port Jam, After Dinner Mints (which are seemingly mint creams covered in chocolate easily made at home and you get far more for your money); Kendal Mint Cake, Handmade Fudge, Sticky Toffee Sauce, Shortbread, Scottish Oatcakes, Morello Cherry Jam, Christmas Pudding (why buy one when you can make one that will be absolutely fabby dabby, mulled wine, Lemon Curd, Sweet Onion Relish  Christmas Chutney Real Ale Chutney Pear Apple and Ginger Chutney etc etc etc. Most of these said items are quite expensive for what they are, but they needn't be.  One of my passions is collecting recipes, especially when it comes to preserving.  I collect and  have recipes if not exactly the same pretty much near it and for what I would be paying for one jar if I bought the ingredients from scratch I would probably get nearer 3 to 4 jars for the same price if resourcing my ingredients at the right price. I would rather pay out for core ingredients and then have a bash at making it myself.  Sometimes things work out other times they don't but its all a learning curve and making mistakes is the best way to learn because you iron out all the wrinkles and finding your way round the recipe and what not to do.  

The other part of the reason that I make so much myself from scratch is that I get to source where the ingredients come from - therefore no hidden nasties and I get to put stuff up that can be used throughout the year.   This is a hangover from the way my grandparents used to provide food for themselves and the family and the fact they lived in a village where there was a post office with a few food items in and one small paper shop and that was it; so they had to stock up with food items especially basics because it would be a while before they went to town again - a very practical reason.  However good food in those days usually meant good health and even today I believe that this still impacts on us.  Even though we all do what we can with the resources available to us.  I remember my Nan preparing the Goose in the run up to Christmas (it was running round the orchard free range until about a week before Christmas), home cured tongue, ham, pork pies, faggots (not purchased all home made) together with pickles and preserves put up in season and eked out through the year although Christmas was always time to celebrate and share with family and friends - if someone was on their own at Christmas there would always be an invite to come and have Christmas dinner with the family no one was allowed to be alone.

 However in recent years Christmas is not how it used to be - it is over commercialised and a lot of the pleasure had gone for me until I got back to basics i.e. making a few decorations myself, making a few presents from scratch like crotchet scarves or knitted scarves and getting back to the simplicity of smaller presents.  That's not to say I don't buy things but for me the whole enjoyment factor comes by giving some of your love to someone else in the form of something crafted by you.  Its the simplest of gestures and yet to me speaks far more and gives more pleasure to me (and I hope to my recipients).  A present doesn't have to cost the earth its the intention behind it that matters more than anything else. We have much to be grateful for today, but we shouldn't lose sight of the old ways the old skills because they can and do still play a very important part in our lives - we don't always see them but they are there propping everything up behind the scenes.

So I am back to researching recipes and sorting out what I am going to do in the next few weeks, and trying to make the most of what I have and giving something back where I can. 

Anyway ramble over have a lot to do (as usual)

Catch you where I can

Pattypan

xx

2 comments:

  1. Could not agree more. I've always loved christmas but over the years christmas has become less and less attractive to me. Mostly because the grandparents are all gone now and my mum has been ill for almost five years. Celebrations aren't top of the bill. I always got a buzz making that christmas cake for granny and mum. The overt commercialization of christmas is a big turn off to me. Last year we had what i'd call our frugalist christmas yet and it felt right. I'm going to have a go at making a hamper of home made goodies and a few shop bought items for our close friends. People seem to appreciate the effort don't they.

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  2. I agree with you totally about preserving - we do lots.

    Thank you so much for becoming a follower - have given you a mention today!

    Pomona x

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