Monday, March 18, 2019

Jenna Woginrich Inspired Me. Late At Night. I'm Totally Down With That.

It's a little after 7 in the morning. I've had 3 cups of coffee. I'm still a little tired. That's my fault. Last night after I tucked Lisa and the kids into bed, I continued to read a book that I started reading on Saturday night. It's one of those books that sucks you in. I told myself that I would only read for a half hour. Two hours later...

My SoulSista lent me the book early Saturday evening. She joined us for our annual St. Patrick's Day dinner. After Lisa retired to the sofa with our kids, she and I sat at the table and had a lengthy conversation about food and meals and the comfort foods our Moms used to make when we were kids. At one point during the conversation, my SoulSista said, "I have a book that I know you will really like." She ran upstairs to get it.

Minutes later, she handed me the book. It's titled 'Made From Scratch: Discovering The Pleasures of a Handmade Life' by Jenna Woginrich. I flipped through it. I knew instantly it was going to be love at first page.

Later that evening, after my SoulSista left and I tucked Lisa and the kids into bed, I started reading the book. I was exhausted, but I got through about 30 pages or so.

Even before I reached the first chapter, I knew I was going to love this book. My adoration stemmed from the last couple of paragraphs in the introduction...

"Don't look at your current situation as a hindrance to living the way you want, because living the way you want has nothing to do with how much land you have or how much you can afford to spend on a new house. It has to do with the way you choose to live every day and how content you are with what you have. If a few things on your plate every season come from the work of your own hands, you are creating food for your body, and that is enough. If the hat on your head was knitted with your own hands, you're providing warmth from string and that's enough. If you rode your bike to work, trained your dog to pack, or just baked a loaf of bread, let that be enough.

Accepting where you are today, and working toward what's ahead, is the best you can do. You can take the projects in this book as far as your chosen road will take you. Maybe your gardens and coops will outgrow mine, and before you know it you'll be trading your Audi for a pickup. but the starting point is to take control of what you can and smile with how things are. Find your own happiness and dance with it."  (Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich)

For the past few years, I've been working more towards this. I've come a long way.

For example...

Let's say my homemade meatballs were on the menu for dinner, accompanied with a salad and garlic bread. A few years ago, my meatballs would be simmering in the crockpot with jarred spaghetti sauce. The salad would be served with bottled dressing and store bought croutons. The garlic bread would be provided by Pepperidge Farm.

Today, my homemade meatballs are made with organic herbs and breadcrumbs that I make from my unused homemade bread. They simmer in my homemade spaghetti sauce. The croutons and dressing for the salad are also homemade. And, the garlic bread is made from homemade French or Italian bread that I made earlier in the day.

Big difference.

However, there are always critics out there. 

Were the tomatoes grown fresh?

Was the butter homemade for the garlic bread?

If you have pasta with the meatballs, is the pasta homemade?

Is the salad organic?


It's frustrating because these hardcore critics are always scoping the internet ready to squash people's efforts.

I refer to them as internet trolls or keyboard warriors.

Over the years, I've developed a thick skin. I'm at that age where I don't care what people have to say. No, my butter isn't homemade. Yet. No, my pasta isn't homemade. Yet. Eventually, I'll get there, but for now, today, I'm doing great. My family, including our 4 furry kids, are eating homemade meals and snacks. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It's a lot of work. I'm proud of that.


This book is refreshing. It encourages people instead of stomping on their efforts.

For instance, one of the chapters is about raising chickens in order to have fresh eggs on a daily basis. That is probably something we'll never do. Another chapter is about beekeeping in order to obtain fresh honey. That's one thing I know we will never do. But, we can certainly buy fresh eggs from a local farmer and jars of fresh local raw honey from the feed store down the street from us.

We can also utilize the fresh produce that we grow and the abundance that our neighbors share with us from their gardens during the Summer months.

That's good enough for us.

We're living in the age of technology. The digital age. We can order dinner while sitting in traffic with just a few taps on our smart phones. We can order dinner boxes from dozens of companies who deliver pre-measured ingredients for scrumptious meals to your door. You can grocery shop online in the morning, get out of work, park in a designated spot at the grocery store, and your entire order will be brought to your car. Fast food places and chain restaurants are offering more and more specials to cater to busy families who have no time to cook.

If you've managed to escape from any of those pricey and mostly unhealthy options and you're making homemade meals in your kitchen from real ingredients, you're doing great. You're doing enough. Ignore the critics.

That's where I stand.

Eventually, I want to make homemade pasta and butter and other great stuff that we currently buy pre-made. I'll get there.

I ignore the critics too.

I'm looking forward to reading my way through the rest of this book for so many reasons. I'll probably lose track of time again this evening as I read more pages.

That's okay.

This book has inspired and motivated me.

That's a good thing.

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