Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Charm of Making

The origin of my title today has little or nothing to do with my topic (it's from the movie "Excalibur," and is critical to the relationship between Merlin and Morgana). Actually, I could have titled this post "The Joy of Creating" or maybe "The Joy of Cooking," but that last one's already taken and would also be incomplete.

One of the characters in Edward Abbey's "The Monkey Wrench Gang" complains about being tired of people who "don't do anything or don't make anything, except babies," and I have to agree - I know some of those people, and lest I sound like a right-wing wing nut, the ones who "don't do anything or make anything" come in all income brackets.

I do know that most people are busier than they should have to be, just trying to hold down a job or two or three, take care of their families, and otherwise keep body and soul together, so "making things" can seem daunting - just another task in days that are already over-full.  It seems easier just to plop down on the couch and watch TV.  I was fortunate to grow up with a grandmother who loved watching TV, but while she watched, she turned out yards and miles of knitted and crocheted lace and other projects. Her hands were always busy.  Maybe, like me, she saw needlework and crafts as a way to justify those hours in front of the tube.  In any case, she made beautiful things that were always appreciated by their lucky recipients.
      This afghan and sweater went to a friend who's expecting a little girl on November 10.  The afghan is just a whole lot of granny squares (I finally learned how to crochet the squares together as I go along, after more years than I'm going to admit), and the knitted sweater is from a pattern readily available online. Just google one-skein baby sweater.  It's knit top-down, from the seam of the hood, and is really, really easy.  And yes, that's my Cabbage Patch doll, a gift from my daughter, several years after I gave hers to her.
     I love giving gifts like this (it's the second baby afghan in less than two months) when I know they'll be appreciated.  And even though they take time, I have the pleasure of creating them before giving them away - a much greater pleasure than just going to the store or shopping online.  And shopping also takes time and is not always a pleasure, especially if I'm feeling pressured.  Confession time: sometimes when I'm shopping I just feel aimless and spacey, nothing seems very attractive, and it's not much fun.  Of course, at other times I find wonderful things and have a great time.  So it's not that I feel superior for sometimes making things instead of buying them; I just like having and creating options.
    On to the joy of cooking.  I'm trying to have a slow, relaxing weekend, and for me that often involves cooking.  Joe's observed that it makes me happy (unless it's 6:00 on a weeknight and we default to frozen pizza and a salad).  These may be the best muffins I've ever made.  They're the Orange-Cherry Corn Muffins from Mollie Katzen's "Sunlight Café" cookbook.  Well, okay, they're a tie with the Atomic Bran Muffins from the Northcoast Co-op in Arcata, CA, a recipe that I've seen elsewhere as 6-Week Bran Muffins.
     Yesterday I also made soup, no recipe there, just a basic vegetable soup with half a bottle of a low-salt mixed vegetable juice that we didn't like real well in a glass but that mixed well with chicken broth as the liquid in this tomato-ey vegetable-rice soup with white beans.
     Then today I used the last of the current batch of dough from one of the recipes in "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" to make a loaf of olive bread by mixing in chopped olives, a little chopped onion, coarsely grated Parmesan, and a little finely chopped fresh rosemary (could have used more rosemary).  What a nice lunch it made!
The bread looked better after it was sliced, though, since I forgot to slash the top.  Oh, well, I like the crusty, rustic look.  And it won't last long, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. You have made so beautiful doll and I like these types of soft toys. I want to give one suggestion that you should always give some procedure to make them.