Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cooking Off-Grid...

5:00 pm - 42 degrees - raining and windy...

It amuses me when people find out that we live off-grid and they ask me how I cook our meals.  My response is always the same – just like everyone else does, with a few exceptions of course. 

I’m not a gourmet cook and I don’t have “gourmet” items in our tiny temporary kitchen, but I do have what is needed to cook from scratch – which is the preferred method in our home.  Cooking off-grid, for us, just means setting up our kitchen the way our grandmothers and great grandmothers did it - with plenty of manual (non-electric) kitchen tools.

These are a few of my favorite kitchen tools that I use all the time!
Grater, Sifter, Can Opener, Hand Mixer & Whisk
Sometimes I am startled by what people lack in their kitchen.  I’m not talking about newlyweds just getting started in life; I’m talked about established families whose kitchens lack mixing bowls or pie pans or a rolling pin.  I recently met someone who didn’t even own a single measuring spoon.

I understand why this is.  It’s because fewer people are cooking from scratch anymore.  People are busy, convenience food is cheap and abundant, and the art of a homemade meal is becoming rarer.

I don’t pretend to be a culinary genius in the kitchen, in fact I prefer baking over cooking and am way better when I have a recipe to follow – whereas my husband (who doesn’t cook very often) is way better when he’s not following a recipe.  Either way, knowing how to cook from scratch is, I feel, very important.  No, more than very important – essential.

Scratch cooking is one of those unheralded and under-appreciated skills that we should all learn because it’s the answer to an obvious question:  What would you do if a frozen pizza or canned soup or boxed macaroni-and-cheese were not available?  This is a particularly important question for Preppers because it affects what foods they store.

With a few exceptions, more of your food storage should be ingredients, not prepared food.  This means basic staples from which you can assemble complete meals.  Most staples (properly stored) will also last longer than most processed foods.

Endless number of Preppers have stored away endless amounts of rice and beans, but often they lack the ability to cook up those rice and beans in tasty ways.  Worse, lots of people have wheat stored away, without any real comprehension of how to turn that wheat into a loaf of bread.

Sadly that ability – to take raw ingredients and create delicious meals out of them – is either watered down or gone.  We are so entirely dependent on prepared foods from the grocery store (or deli or restaurant) that some peoples definition of “scratch” cooking means making a cake from a boxed mix.

Our pioneer ancestors were experts at cooking from scratch.  They had no choice.  The food they grew, raised, gathered or hunted was in “scratch” form and needed to be transferred into something edible.  And yet pioneer recipes have come down through the generations as testimonies of the wonderful and delicious ways in which basic foods could make marvelous and nutritious meals.

Although I may not bake or cook from scratch exactly like our pioneer ancestors did, I do use similar kitchen tools – that is manual (non-electric) kitchen tools.  And now I'm off to make dinner - cube steak with mushroom gravy, real mashed potatoes, and a tossed salad.  Yum!

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