Monday, November 9, 2009

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

I've got Patch making gluten-free bread today. He said he's interested in learning to cook more complicated things, and I think that's a great idea, especially now that he's reading more easily. There are a lot of ingredients, and a few steps, and a recipe helps a lot.

Knowing how to cook for yourself is one of those most basic skills, as basic and necessary as knowing how to brush your own teeth. I think it's a SIN when a person leaves home not knowing some basic cookery skills. It's a terribly handicap, both in terms of self-sufficiency and finances. Ready-made, or restaurant food, is horribly expensive, and most often less nourishing.

Even more so, to send this boy, my celiac son, out into the Wild Beyond without knowing how to bake his own bread, well, that would be cruel. He loves it. He's crowing about his talents as a chef, and making plans to master other favourite recipes.

I astonished a classmate this weekend by mentioning that I spent my summer raising and butchering chickens. She couldn't imagine that much DIY. I can't say it was my favourite-ever activity, but I'm sure glad I know how! Knowing how to get rid of a headache fits in there too, in the category of basic life-skills. I love my line of paid work.

I love fiction, and I love fabric, and I love speculative conversation. But I can't enjoy all those other things without knowing I've got a firm foundation in the earthly world of hands and soil. Funny. It's not like I love chicken shit or hauling water or weeding gardens. But something in me knows I need it.

It's just a drop in the bucket of available knowledge, useful knowledge. Drip, drip, drip... another fifty years or so and I might be up to the quarter-full mark!


Deb said...

I totally agree; the number of people who don't know how to cook, or who "don't cook" is amazing. A take home and bake pizza occasionally is about the extent of our restaurant eating. You have the additional challenge of having to eat gluten free, and I am glad Patch is learning his survival skills. Shouldn't at least knowing where our food comes from (besides the supermarket) be basic, required knowledge?

I am starting to study herbal medicine. Another life skill that I think will only become more valuable these days.

Madcap said...

Hey! I'm so curious about your studies... is it something you're doing formally?

Deb said...

Not formally, at least not yet, but I have been checking out Matthew Wood's books from the library (and putting them on my Amazon wish list!) I like his approach-he combines classical Western herbalism with Native American herbal knowledge, and a little homeopathy thrown in. And he only lives about a hundred miles away from me, so studying personally with him may eventually be a possibility. I also found out there is an informal group that meets once a month about an hour's drive from here to discuss various uses of herbs. My first goal is to be able to treat myself and my family of course, but in the long term I may want to make more of a profession of it.