Mom Monday Week 23 – The Homemade Pantry

The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila is the latest addition to my cookbook collection. It’s a great book to read – it contains lots of stories from Alana’s life in the kitchen and around the house, besides the recipes. Alana says she is of Jewish descent, but her name sure sounds Romanian. She blogs at Eating From the Ground Up.

The Homemade Pantry Cover

As a homeschooling mom, I really enjoy taking care of my children and providing the best educational experiences for them – including cooking experiments. 

I have written before about the advantages of cooking at home. When I heard about Alana’s book, I bought it immediately because I have always wanted to make pop tarts and salsa and sandwich cookies but never had enough courage to try out the recipes I could find online.

Mom Monday Week 23 - The Homemade Pantry

Besides, I read excerpts from her book and realized what a pleasure it would be to lose myself in her worldview. Alana seems so relaxed and perfectly OK with flour on the counter and oats on the floor. I need more of that in my life.

It’s more about changing our relationship with food – how we process it, how we buy it, how we think of it. It’s about what things we think are acceptable from scratch and what things we just sort of buy in a blue box or a green box or a yellow box or a red box from the store.

The first chapter intimidated me – dairy products using whole milk. I don’t even use cow’s milk in my home – if we get dairy products, we definitely get the low-fat ones. We drink rice milk and soy milk. I read the chapter and smiled when she made her first batch of ricotta cheese and shouted, “I’m a cheese maker!”

I know the feeling. I have made vegan cheese before (out of cashews and pimentos and yeast flakes) and I am always amazed at the process. My husband looks at my blender and talks to the cashews, “You guys are going to be cheese!” And we laugh.

But even though I don’t think I will make my own mozzarella any time soon, I still enjoyed reading about Alana making hers.

I devoured the next few chapters and made a mental note of which recipe I wanted to start out with. (Definitely the pop tarts.)

In another chapter discussing the relationship we all have with butter, Alana shared how one of her daughters got beaten up by two boys at school. They called her “fat” as they pounced on her. They were all in kindergarten. It took Alana months to get her daughter to start eating normally again after that incident. The things that happen in our schools these days…

Let me end with a quote from page 21: “…luxury does not necessarily require money.” Love it, love it, love it. This is what the good life is about: enjoying the simple pleasures of homemade food and homespun kids.

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