A friend recently said to me that they wouldn’t want to mess around making sausage because for the amount of product his family ate it didn’t seem worth it to bother with it. Time wise I mean.
I completely understand how he feels because I have felt the same way before. Not specifically about sausage but I could fill in a number of other things that I felt originally, for whatever reason, weren’t worth me doing –when put into my “wasn’t very good doing it” limited time to product perspective anyway.
Yet years down the road I know find myself doing things that I consider too “time consuming” and “not worth it” like canning potatoes, making applesauce from scratch (even after the canned jars have been used up), making hamburger rolls on the days we want burgers, making homemade stock with some extra to freeze or can, grinding grains, and many other “hard and time consuming” things.
I do all these without really taking much more time than it would for me to run to the store and pick them up. Of course we all know that the quality is far superior to the store bought and well worth the extra time. I also don’t completely do all of this because I feel that home made food taste better and is cheaper than store bought either—though those are two of my main reasons. Truthfully I make many of these items from scratch because I am now so comfortable doing them and it has become so ingrain that it really ISN”T that much more time —-and it DOES taste better and cost less.
A number of things have led me to this point in my life though. I didn’t get here because I am super woman, and I didn’t get here because I do in fact stay at home. I got here through small steps and small attempts.
Over the course of time I have added these things slowly. As I have became successful and comfortable with those I initially began with….I then added others to attempt. No matter how stressful it seemed at first…each attempt yielded better and better products until I no longer had to think about doing it. I have made bread so many times now that I do not even need a recipe for the two main types we eat. For less eaten breads like bagel or English muffins—I still need a recipe. But I am overall so comfortable with making bread now that even a recipe that is new or not memorized takes very little extra time out of my day.
Unfortunately I do find myself occasionally saying things similar to my friend above. I, like all people of my generation, seem to feel that going to a store and buying something pre package represents quicker food. I also, like every one else fall into the trap that something unfamiliar is by far harder and takes longer—especially when someone has already done it for you. How often though, living out in the country, has it taken me just as long to get to a good restaurant, or even to the closest open grocery store? Often it would have been quicker for me to make something in my kitchen. Maybe not a 4 hour pot roast but I can make a batch of marinara sauce and spaghetti in probably the same amount of time it takes to go across town to my favorite Mexican restaurant. Better than spaghetti….I can whip up tacos even quicker—even if I do home made tortillas. Mine may not be quite as perfectly round as the restaurant’s….but they taste just as good.
I notice that we don’t seem to count driving to and from the grocery store….and our time strolling around in it…in the “cost” of these so called quick foods. Yet…..we consider a trip to the store at 5 o’clock after work to be easier than going home and making something. Ick..I hate going to the store at that time because it is swamped with people.
So, what about harder things though like sausage? Or homemade pasta? Or even canned foods?
These are all things that once you do them more than twice….you start to build your own routine. Falling into a groove so to speak. A groovy groove. I think it takes at least two times to fumble through some of it and then after that it starts to move into the easier or just as easy category because you know, and are becoming comfortable with, what exactly needs to be done. And since many of these “time consuming” tasks can be scaled up to include many days or weeks worth of product ,we actually end up saving time. Saving time by pre preparing our meals (at least partially) and saving time by removing some of the time spent in stores. Maybe not right at first but over time. Canning is a great example of that. Yes, it takes time and it does mean you have to spend a number of days in the kitchen. Yet when accomplished days and days and even weeks worth of meals are done.
Another example I have for this time to savings is our dairy cow. When our cow first calved and we started milking we felt very out of sorts, rushed and limited in time. Never quite seeming to have a handle on all the paraphernalia, and routine, that went with the milking. However it didn’t take long to develop a routine with our cow and milking her. And to get all our paraphernalia together cosistently. We then added the routines of dealing with our extra milk like making butter, separating off cream, making cheeses (still working on getting tasty cheese though ;-D) always going back through the “are we doing it right” or “what storage containers will work best” and many other items that required us to learn how to deal with them.
Yet…all fell into place. And of all the things we have ever added to our home the care of our cow has actually worked out to be something that we get that time to value wise is immeasurable. It has also decreased our time going to and from the grocery by so much (very odd I know) that we found we then needed to plan and stock up on other groceries because we were no longer there many times a week. Kind of steam roll effect. Or rock down a hill. The momentim every time we added one of the “labor intensive” task was great. Moving us more and more into higher quality food, better health, time savings and just plain enjoyment of what we accomplished.
As I have added each task to my life…sausage making, animal butchering, making breads, milking cows…..they all seemed as if they would clutter my life to the extreme. Yet as I became comfortable with each task they actually allowed me how to save time in other places. And…I still vacation and I still go to visit my family. We still have time to hang with friends and to get projects done on the weekends.
As I come to the end I am not sure I really made a point but I think I will sum it up this way: Add some homesteading and self sufficiency skills to your life. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t interested in them. Begin slowly…adding one at a time until you feel comfortable with it. Then…add another, whether it’s making sausage, caring for livestock or even canning up all the soup you eat every year.
Over time we build the skills and the tools to do these things second nature without rushing off helter skelter for something we forgot. Eventually you will become so good at whatever it is that you won’t forget—but it does takes practice and time at first. As I always tell my children: Don’t worry if it comes out badly at first, practice makes perfect. And sausage is still edible even if you leave it too chunky or rip the sausage casing.