One Small Change, April
Happy April, Peeps!
Dan and I were skimming through some photos of deep winter, and my eyes fell upon this one:
And I couldn’t help but exhale: we made it.
March started off with a frank e-mail discussion on what we don’t want in the food exchange. White flour and sugar got the boot, as us sister-wives recognized we’d be fending the children off our cookies, while our own mouths were spattered with guilty, greasy crumbs.
One member dropped out, due to having a two year old and a baby. And though we miss her and her amazing quinoa salad, we’re finding three is an ideal number.
Breads and yogurt still have top billing, but Audrey made this mayonnaise that caused me to rethink my own existence for a couple days, or until I swished my rubber scraper against the jar and came up empty. You may have thought mayo was something to slide discreetly between bread and a slice of cheese, but who knew it was a complete sandwich topping in itself.
Mayo recipe (only if you’re prepared to shake up your life. I know, motherhood is crazy):
2 large egg yolks (must be room temperature)
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 med garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Process yolks, mustard, lemon juice and garlic in food processor for 10 seconds. Add slowly, with machine running, vegetable oil. Mix one minute. Transfer to bowl and whisk in water. While whisking constantly, slowly add olive oil for 30 seconds, whisk in salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
We’ve also had Irish soda bread, hummus, butter, salsa, beans, sour cream, baba ganoush, granola and hot cross buns. And as Sheryl says “I feel so spoiled!” Me too, though I wonder about the husbands. Wednesday night when Dan dipped a chip in the salsa I was mixing up for our exchange, I blocked the bowl, “this is for my wives!”
One morning Dan whipped up some French toast (Sheryl’s bread, our backyard eggs, topped with my yogurt and locally picked cherries). I felt like we had gone off the supermarket grid, and were sticking it to The Man, at least before I bought a sneaky handful of Cadbury eggs from some relative of The Man.
Red cabbage sauerkraut is a keeper, especially when your helper—with a safe, Montessori-catalog knife—proudly chunks off a few slivers like she’s just taken gold in the fermented-veggie Olympics.
There are still kinks we haven’t worked out. The logistics of getting goodies distributed across three different houses every Thursday has been a challenge of coordination and efficiency. And my own bread-baking has fretful kinks; someday I’ll have my children write a paragraph about their Mama’s bread using these five vocabulary words: hockey puck, stiff, dental floss, dense, hand saw.
And, our One Small Change for April is:
Buying our beer in reusable ½ gallon jugs, called growlers.
There are FOUR breweries in our town of 16,000 people. And each of them will refill a growler, provided their logo is painted on the brown bottle. Getting your 1/2 gallon filled is not cheaper than buying a six-pack (and this will vex me until I teach my kids to brew the family beer). And a growler contains less fluid ounces than a six pack, which is maybe why it’s called a growler, grrrr. But, no more bottles to recycle and no more of this paper board for the trash (as yet unrecyclable here):
Growlers stay fresh and fizzy for at least three days once opened, and a week unopened. And if you’re of the same persuasion as I, which is Jewish and one beer is too little and two is too much, growlers create great custom pouring options.
And in other Large Glass Jar news, we’ve been buying gallons of local milk.
We make yogurt and skim off the top 20 ounces of cream to turn our coffee the color of a paper bag. Only the kids, who’ve neither seen Dairy Council propaganda or the attendant PETA/mucous-crusaders backlash, can drink the stuff straight. But I ‘m pleased to say I haven’t bought yogurt or cream in a throwaway container in 2 months! Plus, when the yogurt’s getting mucus-creepy, we mix it into pie crust and make this:
Stay tuned for May’s One Small Change, where the sister-wives start brewing moonshine and passing it around in growlers!
*lest it seem like not a stitch of packaging ever enters our house, allow me to expose ourselves: rice milk, cereal, energy bars, tortillas, cheese… Though this morning as Dan was packing for a 3-day trip to Denver and I wouldn’t let him take one of our only two metal water bottles, he snarked: “I guess I’ll just have to buy juice in little, throwaway plastic bottles all the way up to Denver.”
*to check out other bloggers One Small Change projects, clickity click.
*3 out of our 4 breweries offer a free growler after you’ve purchased 5 or 6, so that actually makes up for the price difference from the six packs. Whew.