The recent heat wave has kept me indoors during the hottest time of the day. I’ve spent this forced down time, not organizing my closets or catching up on the mending but instead doing research on early American cooking and homemaking. One of the treasures I came across is the YouTube channel, Townsends
This channel is about more than just cooking. It explores the entire way of life during this period. So why would this matter on what is primarily a family preparedness blog? Well, if you want to know how to manage in the absence of electricity and other modern necessities, what could be more relevant than a channel devoted to exactly that.
My favorite episode so far (Season 2, Episode 5) is related to yeast. Yep. I am really that boring. I’m excited by yeast, especially as it pertains to a yeast that can be made once, used for baking bread and then saved by simply pulling off a chunk of dough and burying it in a bowl of salt. It is a kind of sourdough but not as finicky as it doesn’t need refrigeration and you don’t have to remember to feed it.Begin with a traditional bread recipe using a sponge. When your sponge has worked, add enough flour to make a kneadable dough. After ten minutes of kneading, pull off about ¼ cup of dough. Press out a indentation in the center and fill this with a coarse salt. Place the dough on a bed of salt on a container with a lid. Pour salt over all to cover and put the lid on. The next time you want to make bread, take out the desiccated dough and scrape off as much salt as possible. Chop the dried dough finely and rehydrate by covering with warm water. When the dough has rehydrated, pour it through a piece of cheesecloth to strain off any solids and use the resulting liquid to create another sponge, then proceed as for any other loaf. The YouTube video provides a great tutorial.
This process will seem silly to most people. Why go through so many steps when good bread is available for a few dollars with no effort at all? Here is my response. Having the necessary skills to feed my family gives me a sense of control. It removes the fear that comes from being entirely dependent. This is the essence of being prepared for whatever life throws at me. It isn’t that I will always chose the hard way or the more complex way to tackle a task but if I had to, I could. Being prepared is far less about things you buy and far more about what skills you possess. Our normalcy bias leads us to believe that the way things are now is the way they will always be but history teaches us that wars and famines, plagues, and droughts define each century. What are the skills you need to face the future without fear, secure in the knowledge that you can persevere?