Peaches Come in a Can

In CategoryCooking, Navel Gazing

they were put there by a man, in a factory dowwwwwwnnntowwwwwwnnnn…

If I had my little way I'd eat peaches every day

What have we learned?

Well, firstly – and I say this with the deep and abiding in your soul kind of knowledge that only experience gives – peeling peaches sucks.

One Sunday, caught up in the frenzy of various the peaches are ripe now! now! NOW! Facebook posts, I went to a local farm and bought forty pounds of peaches.


Let’s back up a bit. I have never canned anything in my life before this summer. Because botulism. My total canning experience prior to this peach buying incident, was Strawberry Jam, affectionately known in my house as Failure Jam.

Six half-pints of Failure Jam and the purchase of 4 books on canning, led me, somehow, to confidently buy 40 pounds of peaches on a whim.

It just occurred to me that this whole story pretty much sums up my entire personality.

In any event, after spreading all the peaches out on the table to ripen, and I went to the store to buy canning jars. While I was at the store, doubt crept in. Jim caught me glumly surveying the table full of peaches.

“what’s the matter?”

“Well, you know I had to go to the grocery store to buy canning jars for the peaches. And you know what ELSE they have at the grocery store? CANNED PEACHES.”

He patted me pityingly and went to work.

Peeling and slicing eight million one hundred and thirteen peaches was a big job. Three-quarters of the way through, I was over trying to beat Dole at their game, and I turned the last batch into Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam, except not really jam because I am over making jam and prefer making syrupy preserve-y things that we can pour over pancakes or add to yogurt or pour over ice cream. Or pancakes. Or ice cream.

Those little jars made me happier than the sliced peaches for some reason, and I was trying to figure out why. Somehow making food from scratch seems like part of a simple lifestyle, but turning my kitchen into a giant sticky mess is NOT, in fact, simpler than say, BUYING A JAR OF FREAKING PEACHES. But I can’t just go out and buy peaches in brown sugar, or handpicked blackberries in syrup, or even Failure Jam, and seeing those little jeweled jars lined up makes me clap my hands in happiness.

I do a fair amount of rolling my eyes at all these endeavors, too, though, because none of this is simple, and certainly not simpler than nuking a chicken nugget. But a chicken nugget just isn’t as…satisfying, is it?

Perhaps a Simple Year isn’t the only thing I crave.




Thanks, Pinterest

In CategoryCooking, Navel Gazing

I just did that thing where you take the shaker top from a can of parmesan cheese* and put it on a canning jar so you can have a flip-top lid for your jar.

I put baking soda in it, because that mangled box drives me nuts. Why they don’t package baking soda the same way they package baking powder is a mystery to me.

This makes me ridiculously happy.



*I bought the generic parmesan cheese for two dollars and threw it away. That stuff isn’t food, people.


In CategoryAdventure, Cooking

This house does not have a stove or oven. This is posing a significant problem for me, what with the people around here who want food cooked for them every day.

Yes, I knew going in that there was no oven or stovetop, but the owner told me that she had an electric skillet and a crock pot and a toaster oven, and I believed I could make it work. However, I foolishly thought No Oven only meant No Oven. But it also seems to mean No Cooking Utensils of Any Kind. There is no steak knife, nor spatula, nor mixing bowl. There is one tiny paring knife, ridiculously stored in a sheath, but which is so dull that I have to look at it to make sure I am using the right side of the blade.

Apparently, the house had been converted into a lawyer’s office or something before these owners turned it into a vacation rental, so it only has an office-type kitchen area. Thankfully, there is a dishwasher and decent-sized refrigerator. But I have no idea what to put in the refrigerator.

Unfortunately, I’m far enough down the Real Food path that the thought of feeding my family convenience foods for five weeks makes me ill. On the other hand, I can’t make anything elaborate because Hai, there’s NO STOVE. Gah. And also no counter space. To give you some idea, there is a Keurig coffee maker and it takes up over 50% of the counter.

So. Yeah.

I’ve made every iteration of tacos I can think of, and the electric skillet is pretty big, so I’ve been able to make skillet ziti and fried rice, but I’m running out of ideas.

Do y’all have any recipes that are Real Food but that don’t take a lot of prep or ingredients or, you know, cooking?

Oh well, at least it was cheap

In CategoryAdventure, Cooking

Before we left Washington, we sorted through ALL our stuff and planned to dump about a third of it off in storage. I had no idea what we would end up needing on this adventure, so I brought everything I could possibly think of (and that would fit). The Kitchenaid, my wheat grinder, and the crockpot were deemed unnecessary. We also dropped off sleeping bags, a bunch of toys and games, and assorted random bits we didn’t ever use.

It’s amazing how little we really need. Frankly, I wish we had gotten rid of even more. On the other hand, it’s amazing how much stuff we still had to keep. I haul around a lot of kitchen tools. We are on our 5th place and only 2 of them have had skillets I would be willing to cook in. No one has had decent knives, there’s nary a measuring cup to be found, and it’s hit or miss on little things like cheese graters and pizza cutters. Most of the homes have a ridiculously large wine glass collections, but if you want a cookie sheet, you’d better head to WalMart. We also have our own plastic cups and coffee mugs and my big soup pot and an edited-but-still-big spice collection.

I was thrilled to get rid of all that stuff, because it was just a reminder that I wasn’t grinding my own wheat or doing supplementary logic exercises with the kids or whatever. I hate it when my stuff throws me guilt trips. Jim was happy to get rid of it, because he is the chief schlepper and packing the trailer was turning into stressful 3D puzzle.

I can’t even really remember what we left behind, which just goes to show how important it all was.

There is ONE thing. One small thing I wish I still had…

Now that we are in Arizona, it’s *newsflash* hot. Hot means I don’t want to cook much or turn on the oven. But I still have to make dinner. We’ve eaten a zillion salads, but the kids are getting so much exercise swimming they’re hungry ALL THE TIME.


I had to go buy a crock pot. Dang it.