The New Home Economics

Update

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Here’s another random post about lots of things.

Firstly, the garden seems to be mostly sprouted.  Lots of weeds, too.  I’ll do a garden update sometime this weekend.

Second, I’m going to go ahead and tell you about three books that I recently started but did not finish:

Fat
An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes
by Jennifer McLagan

I requested both this and McLagan’s Bones from the library at the same time.  I found a lot more useful information in Fat.  I will probably purchase this book, when I find that I am ready to start making butter, ghee, lard, and things like that.

This book would also be really useful to anyone who hunts ducks or geese — it contains plenty of interesting information about and uses for duck and goose fat.

McLagan also spends a lot of time dispelling popular myths about fat.  She covers all the main types of animal fats and what you can do with them, and what their composition is in terms of saturated, monounsaturated, and polysaturated.  So there’s also a little science mixed in with folk stories and recipes.

The Backyard Homestead
Produce all the food you need on just a quarter-acre!
by Carleen Madigan

I got most of the way through this book, too.  It presents at least 100 topics, each in a short, easily digestible article.  I think this would be a great book if you want to try your hand at being more self-sufficient, but have no idea where to start.

Madigan includes everything from vegetable gardening to beer brewing to sourdough bread to raising poultry to milking goats.  There is just enough information about each topic to give you at least a general idea.  I read the poultry chapter with great interest, since that’s something I [eventually] want to do — but honestly, I’ll probably pick up a book specifically about raising chickens if/when the time comes.  And the author also advises getting further information and instruction if you’re going to try, for example, raising and slaughtering your own turkeys.

But, for an introduction to what homesteading — you could even call it home economics — is all about, this is a great resource.  This was much more accessible than other “making your home sustainable” books I’ve read in the past.

Deeply Rooted
Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
by Lisa M. Hamilton

Here’s one that I really enjoyed, but just could not get all the way through in the 6 weeks the library allotted me.  Hamilton profiles three farmers in a deeply compelling, rich narrative.  I absolutely loved the only profile I read in total: the story of an African-American dairyman in Texas.  Hamilton has a gift for story-telling — I really admire how she weaved her narrative so skillfully from interviews.  This is long-form journalism at its best.

So that’s it for reading lately; I’ve been pretty dismal at finding time to read every day.  Spring is always a busy time of year and this year is my craziest yet — by far.  But the weekend is here and I am going to make time to weed and even go to my favorite Minneapolis event of the year.  Have a great weekend!

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