Archive for the ‘The Foxfire Books’ Category

Sooner or later, I will get around to making my own soap, but I took my first jaunt into old-fashioned cleaning methods today.   In the soap making section in the first Foxfire book, it mentioned that wood ash can be used to scrub, like you would use Comet or Bon Ami.  Well, I just ran out of Bon Ami, but my sink and teapot were looking atrocious, so I decided to give it a try.

The ash worked wonderfully on the stainless steel teapot, which is a royal pain to clean.   I leave it on the stove since I use it so much, but it seems to attract oil splatters like a magnet.  Normally, it takes quite a bit of Bon Ami and a ton of elbow grease to get it looking shinny again, but the ash took it right off.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work quite as well on the kitchen sink.  Note to self, never ever put a white ceramic sink in the kitchen, they are impossible to keep looking clean.  I’m also afraid of scratching up said ceramic sink, so I don’t think that this will be a worthwhile substitute for me, but if you have a stainless steel sink, I think that it would probably work just fine.


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I know that everyone who has read this blog has now gone out and made their own pickled garlic! So I have a few suggestions on what you can do with it.

First, and by far my favorite, is to used it in salads. Pickled garlic has a wonderful mild flavor. It’s not too vinegary, and the pickling process makes it far more mellow than a normal clove of garlic. This makes it much better for using in salads, because it adds a ton of flavor to otherwise bland lettuce, without all of the calories of globs of salad dressing. I now make all of my salads with a small handful of cloves.

My pickled garlic salad

They also make a great topping for a nice big stuffed sandwich! Try a few small cloves in a turkey (or tofurky) sandwich, and I guarantee that you will fall in love!

I’ll post more uses of pickles of all sorts once I do some more experimenting. The Firefox books have some great sounding pickle recipes that I think that I am going to try out next week.

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The Foxfire Books

I have the best husband in the world! This coming Monday is our one year anniversary, but we exchanged presents last night as we are going to a family reunion in Florida later on today. He got me first edition copies of the first four Foxfire books. I had never heard of these before, but I have spent 30 minutes with them and am already in love!

The Foxfire books are all about Appalachian folklore. Foxfire was originally a magazine started by a high school English teacher and his students. The teacher assigned this project to try to get them involved in his class. The students interviewed their parents and grandparents about almost everything related to life in Appalachia. There are chapters on how to build a log house, midwifery, hog dressing, moon-shining, and tons more.

Here is an excerpt from the introductory chapter:

“If this information is to be saved at all, for whatever reason, it must be saved now; and the logical researchers are the grandchildren, not university researchers from the outside. In the process, these grandchildren (and we) gain an invaluable, unique knowledge about their own roots, heritage, and culture. Suddenly they discover their families – previously people to be ignored in the face of the seventies [when the books came out] – as pre-television, pre-automobile, pre-flight individuals who endured and survived the incredible task of total self-sufficiency, and came out of it all with a perspective on ourselves as a country that we are not likely to see again. They have something to tell us about self-reliance, human interdependence, and the human spirit that we would do well to listen to.”

Isn’t that powerful? I am sure that you will hear me tell you about these books again and again. I am already planning out my future experiments from it as I type and flip through the book at the same time. Thank you Mark for a lovely and thoughtful gift!

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