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Technology plays tricks on us, my Friends – it shortens processes, liberating us to partake of other activities.
by Granny Wise

cooking, art of doing, women, she knows, tomato sauce recipe, raw foods, organic healthy cooked foods, fresh vegetables

Photo from photoXpress

There is nothing wrong with this, but do we not at some level miss out on beautiful, real, hands and minds-on experience? If everything happens at the touch of a button, then isn’t our creative involvement limited, even thwarted?

The answer, thankfully, is no.

Of course this depends on personal interests and lifestyle. A busy executive who absolutely loves spending long hours totally immersed in her work may favor as much automation as possible in other areas of life. This is a person who will select a healthy apple sauce or tomato sauce from the shelves of a grocery store instead of making her own. She still values wholesome nutrition while finding ways to allow time and room for her creativity to unfold where it is meant to do so.

And this is it. It is not a matter of being willing to make things from scratch; it is a matter of allowing proper expression to our creativity. For homesteaders, gardeners and farmers, creativity strives on the land and in the kitchen. Architects blossom at the drafting table. This is how we complement each other. This is how we design the world we share.

Gardening, cookingcanningpreservingmaking cider and making tomato sauce from scratch takes time. The question that comes to mind for those whose energies are focused in other areas might be, “Why would I go through so much trouble?” The fact is, it is no trouble at all. When gardening, cooking, canning, preserving, making cider or making tomato sauce, we are like an artist.

The artist takes the time to pack up easel, paints and a good lunch, drive around in search of an inspiring vista, set up all equipment, mix the paints, capture the scene brush stroke after brush stroke, hour after hour, clean up, put away all tools and equipment, drive home, unpack everything and start over the next day. In truth,  the words “take the time”  actually mean “embrace the moment.”

So it is the moment we decide, “I will can some apples tomorrow.” It is a choice, not a chore.

Then, instantly, we look forward not only to the final product, but to the pure well-being that lies in every moment of the process. When canning, one must clean and set up and gather and cut and pay attention to timing. When making sauce, one must assemble the sauce maker, wash the tomatoes, store the sauce evenly in clean jars, dismantle the equipment and clean it carefully. Even the cleaning is not a chore. Instead, it is that part of the process where we realize that a good deed is done and that the last few hours provided nourishment to more than just the body. We are setting up or setting aside an entire process, in each instant realizing how fully alive and fully involved in living this process makes us feel.

Would it be more practical to buy a jar of sauce or preserve at the store? Yes. If your creativity lies in other areas of life. There is the word “practice” in the word “practical.” When we are exercising our creativity, in any area of life, the act of doing is what’s practical.

What practice would you do basic with your hands?

Granny Wise is All Season’s Homestead Helpers‘ writer and sustainability enthusiast. She urged us to create this Blog for her so she’d have a way to share her stories, knowledge and many findings with homesteaders, gardeners and simply all of you who like to take advantage of the abundance nature has to offer in any way that suits your lifestyle.

Gone are the days of heading to the supermarket to buy a vast array of vegetables, meat and other ingredients for tonight’s dinner.

Microwaveable foods, not fresh, killing fresh cooking, minute fast foods, new era of cooking

Photo from

Gone are the days when the mother would spend the best part of the day cooking a delicious meal for the whole family.

Gone are the days of fresh and in season produce being put together to create something truly delicious.

Instead today we are posed with a cardboard box, or a plastic pot or air tight package ready to get thrown into a box and ready to eat in two minutes. The lazy microwave age is upon us.

Everyday dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, shepherd’s pie, chicken curry and a wide selection of pastas, burgers and even pancakes can all now be cooked in the microwave. Who could resist? When the recommended retail price for a Birdseye Spaghetti Bolognese microwave meal costs as little as £1 (source:

However, since being at university, I’ve learnt the importance of fresh cooking and that buying in mass and cooking for everyone can actually work out rather cheap. Granted, it may cost slightly more than the Birdseye tat above, but you’ll know exactly what is going into it and is guaranteed to taste much better.

God knows what goes into a microwave meal, but it’s more than likely to consist of a variety of preservatives, colourings, artificial flavourings and badly sourced produce.

In a Birdseye Spaghetti Bolognese meal, the sauce consists of the following: Water, Beef 12%, Tomatoes, Onion, Tomato Purée, Mushrooms, Red Wine, Carrots, Celery, Maize Starch, Sugar, Reduced Sodium Salt (Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride), Garlic, Yeast Extract, Oregano, Parsley, Basil, Pepper.

Although the majority of ingredients are fresh here – which is certainly an exception – there is only 12% beef and a vast amount of water. In comparison, a packet of fresh beef mince, an onion, a carrot, tomato purée, Worcester sauce, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a packet of spaghetti spaghetti – when split four ways – provides a nutritious meal for four at a fair price.

Jamie Oliver, who forever emphasises healthy eating, has recently released the book 30 Minute Meals – proving how easy it is to cook and prepare a fresh three course meal for a family in very little time.

Full dish in less than 30 minutes, Indian-style steak, spinach and paneer cheese salad, naan breads and mago desserts for four - all made in less than 30 minutes, Indian-style steak, healthy foods, indian steak foods, salad with lemon

Photo from Jamie Oliver

Microwave meals don’t have to be the only option on a busy day; nor do they have to act as a cheaper alternative – as many students would prove.

Do you think the the culture of microwaves and TV dinners has gone too far? Or are fast meals built into our busy lifestyles?

Daniel Mayes is a recent Journalism graduate with an upper-second. He has experience working at BBC World Service, Sky News Online and has worked on projects in Europe and Africa.

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