A bit of a Pickle
A very wise lady once advised us that marriage was a spiritual quest, a challenge laid down by the fates. After three years I am still not yet comfortable with the challenges that arise from staying in place, but I know it’s an invaluable, massive learning experience and a great privilege. James’s recent hint was to try to let go of attachment to outcomes and to learn how to relish process. We always have about 345 things on the to-do-list and I am learning how to chip away at it all, after having wasted a good amount of time standing in one spot and spinning in slow circles. So much to be done, where to start, so many little hurdles…such a great gap between how we live now and how we want to live. The kitchen here is set up for preserving – lots of shelves, ancestral Fowler’s jars, an established orchard, and a massive tin lined drawer to store the sugar in. But to be honest? I did one lot of olives just before getting engaged and have pickled nothing since. Over in the home valley, where my brother and mother are leading the charge when it comes to “Everything Domachi” (everything homemade) there has been a glut of cucumbers (grown in the vegetable patch turned over by none other than Gunther the Edible Pet who is now home-smoked bacon). We were given one shopping bag full and I announced my intent to make Bread and Butter Pickles (Preserving Exercise 101 – cucumber, onions, salt, soak, rinse, sugar, vinegar, spice, heat, add vegetables, heat at bit, bung in a jar, bung in the fridge, eat). That shopping bag sat on the bench, then in the fridge and then probably became responsible for the funny clear sticky juice on the second shelf. I spent thirty bucks on some spring lidded jars (Fowlers jars scare me a bit). Then another bag of cucumbers arrived. Last chance. Deep breath. Looking at a recipe from Roald and Felicity Dahl’s family cookbook. Remembering the way they had guest cooks. (Note to self: Somehow Attract Guest Cooks). Then not following the recipe – culinary base jumping but hey. The outcome was a little bit salty and the cucumbers were not as crunchy as they might have been, but I enjoyed the process. Now we are engaged in the time-honoured farming tradition that involves slowly eating the not quite right outcomes of the pickling, subjecting guests to the outcomes of the pickling, seeking re-assurance from said guests that the pickles are OK, and looking about for the next project. That would be Job Item Number 344.