When I was about 18, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say either a subsistence farmer or an investment banker. The second option was a clear byproduct of my upbringing: my fathers’ career, my own perception of success. The first, although probably meant ironically, was due mainly to the influence of my freshman year roommate, Jessie.
Jessie and I were thrown together via the peculiar lottery of dorm room allocations. At first glance we couldn’t have been more different. She was from rural West Virginia, the daughter of intrepid parents embracing the Back-to-the-land movement, and I was a private school girl from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Needless to say we were terrified of each other. She thought I was a drug dealer because I had a pager and I couldn’t understand how she didn’t know what a dust-buster was. The early days were tenuous as we felt each other out, it seemed we had been put together because we were Episcopalian smokers.
Pretty soon the vulnerabilities began to creep out. Mine mostly. I was homesick. Thirty blocks from home and desperately homesick. Each night, Jessie allowed me to play a Roald Dahl recording of Fantastic Mr. Fox to lull me to sleep. It was then that the stories began. Jessie started to tell me of her life and childhood and what it was like growing up in Hinton, West Virginia. Stories about snowstorms; the ducks that came to stay for the winter; her mother shooting a snake in the rafters of their house with a shotgun; and weeklong canning sessions. Until this point I didn’t know that canning was something one did. An alien concept, never something that I would do or even want to do.
So here I am, many years later, cooking, baking, canning, making. Attempting to live a more simple life in a world that is anything but. When I first started writing the Silver Spoon, I knew that I enjoyed cooking. I have now realized is that for me its more than just cooking, its about making. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I was a homemaker, I would have laughed at you and retorted, “I’m a trader at a hedge fund!” I now know that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive and that there is a balance to being both. Of as late, my day job consists of doing and making for my growing family. As it turns out the hours and stress levels are similar. While I am no longer rushing home to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 14, I am attempting to navigate a different and no less interesting path. One that I feel we are no longer taught to how to do: cooking for families; making room for baby; gardening; canning this year’s tomatoes, etc. In short I am still doing. These posts will show you a little of what I get up to and if you are interested to learn more or "how to" I can help you with that too.
Recipe for apple butter to follow.