Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Some SERIOUS do-it-yourself

If you are a foodie into creating your own artisanal meals whenever you have a long weekend or a doomsday prepper getting ready to make everything yourself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (that still manages, of course, to allow access to whatever supplies you need), I see the roots of those preoccupations in this book:

The Joy of Making Your Own, by the editors of Consumer Guide Magazine (1976), is a guide for serious do-it-yourself-ers. How serious?

As the first step for making your own smoked meat, it shows how to make your own smoker out of a barrel or an old refrigerator! And these are no half-assed little projects. They require digging trenches, lugging around cement blocks, and cutting holes in appliances. I'm exhausted just thinking about all this.

Even looking at the easier projects is pretty intimidating. I like making homemade veggie "sausage" dough out of gluten and various seasonings, then steaming it into links, so I decided to check out the sausage section. Here are the basic directions-- just the starting point-- before we get to any specific variety of sausage:

Yes, there is a lot of transferring meat and crushed ice in and out of a blender-- so much that the recipe actually recommends taking a break halfway through to prevent the blender from overheating! Then there is the mixing, the shaping (maybe even packing it into casings!), tying, cooking, etc. It makes me glad veggie sausage is so easy! 

As a representative of the sausage section, here is an easy one that is cooked as a loaf rather than made into links:

I didn't know pickle and pimiento loaf was something one could make at home, but apparently it is! I just picked this because I used to work in a deli many many years ago, and I hated the weeks this stuff was on sale. Besides smelling revolting, P&P covered every available surface (the slicer, the counters, my clothing, the floor I'd have to mop at the end of the day) with slimy red and green flecks. At least ours came pre-made and I didn't have to start my workday by making the damn stuff!

Sometimes the book shows a base recipe (such as how to make cottage cheese at home) and then easier recipes in which to use that base. I was amused by this suggestion:

I'm not sure what "super-sophisticates" might find so compelling about cottage cheese mixed with cream cheese, sweet pickle relish, mustard, and caraway seeds, but the mental picture of "super-sophisticates" breaking out the wine to go with this concoction makes me giddy.

Of course, the wine they break out should ideally also be homemade! There are pages and pages and pages of instructions on how to make homemade wine and beer... I want to leave you with an alcohol recipe, but I wanted something a bit less intimidating. So here is something you might actually try (and the book suggests it as a good project to start soon for Thanksgiving):

A cherry bounce might put a bounce in  your step (and make dinner with family a bit more bearable)!

Happy Wednesday, whether you are a foodie artisan, an apocalypse-awaiter, or just a lazy person like me who is content browsing through The Joy of Making Your Own with little intent to make anything too complicated.


  1. Love this! I'll need to keep an eye out for this one. (Love your blog, btw. We're on the same wavelength, methinks.)

    1. Thank you! It sounds as if we are... :-)

  2. Replies
    1. At least we now know how to identify them with their fancy cottage cheese spread.