Creating a Plan for your Household and Kitchen

If you are are in NY State like I am, you might be dealing with some of the following:

  • Suddenly, everyone is home all the time.
  • Your household size has increased suddenly as people return from trips or less secure locations.
  • Your fridge is full of food, but it is disorganized and chaotic.
  • Your fridge and/or pantry is not that full, and it has become harder to leave the house and shop.
  • You are used to eating out a lot, not much of a cook, and you are feeling overwhelmed by the necessities of feeding yourself or your family.

Over the coming weeks I am going to be sharing as much information as I can for free here on my site, because I feel that is the only ethical thing to do in this moment. However, coming soon I will have a few other option as well, including Group Zoom Classes (which will be sliding scale 0-15$ to attend) and Private Zoom Classes, as well as Remote Home/Kitchen/Property Consults for efficiency and resilience.

My goal is to help you survive and thrive; to increase your efficiency and decrease your waste when it comes to food and cooking; and to create protocols to keep your kitchen and household running smoothly and safely.

What makes me qualified? I have been doing this for more than 10 years. I am very used to living in crowded kitchens or homes, cooking and eating thriftily and efficiently, and growing or foraging at least some portion of my own food. After all, those are all common elements of living or working in an intentional community.

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Partial Family Photo, Fertile Minds Collective, Summer 2009

Those of us who have been living in the counter culture — communal housing, communes, the modern day ‘hippy’ culture, small farmers, homesteaders — we have developed a lot of skills and systems for living abundantly on very little money, and with very few trips to the store. And thankfully, it is almost springtime, which means it is also time to start making gardening plans.

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Tweefontein Herb Farm Family Photo, Summer 2013

With everything changing so quickly recently I have been kept very busy, but I want to start sharing skills, because I see it as crucial and potentially life saving in this time. I am worried that the economic effects may be worse than the virus itself, and I foresee many people needing to overhaul their household budgets.

So, here are some of my first suggestions for household and kitchen management during this time. Some come out of my normal experience living communally, others are more directly a response to the recent Covid Pandemic conditions. More coming soon.

  • Redesign your living space to reflect the new ways you are using it, keep yourself and your household safe, and preserve mental health and quality relationships.
    • My household just went from 2 to 3; also, all three of us are now mostly working from home. To manage stress and stir-craziness, we did a quick pivot turning a bedroom into a daytime office space for my partner.
    • My shed was mostly storage space, and not at all organized or functional. It is now on the way to becoming a daytime summer office for me, so that we will not all be stuck on top of each other — and, I can get some space.
    • The builder who I recently hired to make me a custom coffee table instead made us a quick desk for my partners temporary office space, and is now working on making me 1-2 tent platforms in my backyard that could be used for summer social distancing ‘guestrooms,’ retreat spaces, or quarantine spaces if one of us gets sick.
  • Reorganize your fridge to increase prep time efficiency and limit food waste.
    • Take everything out.
    • Deep clean it.
    • Reorganize it according to how quickly things go bad: Have a shelf for stable things that will last a long time. Have a different shelf or section for leftovers or things that go bad quickly like fresh greens, cheese, or meat.
    • Date all left overs with a piece of tape when you put them into the fridge.
    • Create more space by removing things that don’t actually need to be refrigerated, like vinegar or honey.
    • If you are on well water and without a generator, make sure you have at least a gallon or so of fresh tap water in your fridge in case you lose power. Change it out once a week.
    • Consider cooking 5-10 easy to thaw, single serving meals for storage in the freezer, in case you are too sick to cook a meal for yourself.
  • Create an entry and protocol for your home, and a thought out plan for shopping trips. This will keep you safer as well as making decision moments less stressful, because you have already thought it out.
    • Consider making a mudroom or entry space into an undressing zone — leave all outdoor shoes and coats in this room and do not bring them into the house. Take off and immediately wash all clothes when entering the house from being in the outside world, or even in your car.
    • When going to a store, bring only the bare necessities, thus creating less touch points for spreading germs. Leave your cell phone in the car when shopping. Leave your wallet and bring only one card. Disinfect hands and card when you return to the car.
    • Sit down and have a conversation with all the adults in your household, to get on the same page. Consider writing out house or kitchen protocols, posting them somewhere in the kitchen, and agreeing to them as a household. Think about making a chore chart, or having your “main kitchen person” give a tour of where everything lives and what help they could use, to relieve the increased cooking pressure on them and share more responsibilities.

And hey — While we are at it: What better time to learn to cook a few of your favorite dishes, or teach your kids to make some easy dishes? A household with only one able cook is a household in danger of having no cooks, at least temporarily.

That’s all for now — more tips, and more information about virtual classes coming soon.

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Homemade veggie and dairy preserves; store well, easy to make, and deeply nutritious.

 

 

2 Upcoming Workshops 7/22 at SEVA in Kortright, NY

Heya Folks —
  I am excited to announce an upcoming duet of workshops at the SEVA campus in Kortright, NY. Participants can come to either or both workshops, and there will be a break between from 12:00 -1:30 to explore SEVA’s gardens and enjoy a bagged lunch with other participants. As the campus kitchen is vegetarian, participants are encouraged to bring only vegetarian lunches.
  From 10:00 – 12:00:   Kraut, Kim Chi and more
  From 12:00 – 1:30:     Bring a lunch, Explore the gardens
  From 1:30 – 3:30:       Sourdough Bread Baking
  Workshops are $30 each, or $50 for both. To sign up, go to www.sevafoundationny.org/registration or call SEVA at 607-538-1130
  More info on both workshops below.

Vegetable Fermentation:  10-12 AM

Sauerkraut, Kim Chi and other traditional veggie ferments allowed our ancestors to store food, while at the same time making it more nutritious and enhancing its flavor. Simple ferments like this can be made in your own kitchen, saving money over store-bought alternatives and offering you and your family probiotics, B vitamins and more, as well as another doorway to endless culinary creativity.

Join Chrisso Babcock of Coyote Kitchen Workshops for this informative and hands-on 2 hour workshop, and leave with some homemade ferments of your own design. We provide the veggies and jars, but feel free to bring your own quart sized mason jars or vegetables of your choosing if you like.


Sourdough Bread Baking:   1:30-3:30

Long before store bought yeast, baking powder and baking soda were readily available, our ancestors realized that they could lure wild yeasts by leaving a mixture of flour and water open to the air. Traditionally baked sourdough breads rely on a slower process of fermentation that results in an easier to digest bread with a delicious mild sour flavor. We will focus on starting and caring for a sourdough starter, and on baking a simple wheat flour bread without the use of measuring cups.

Join Chrisso Babcock of Coyote Kitchen Workshops for this informative and hands-on 2 hour workshop. Leave with a sourdough starter of your own, and the skills to maintain it and bake delicious sourdough bread at home.

Mead Making Workshop, June 25th at 12:00, and again at 1:00, at The Bear’s Picnic market in Woodstock

Mead 1

Mead, the honey wine of the gods, is the oldest of all of our alcoholic drinks… with some anthropologists proposing that the discovery of mead could predate even human language and culture. Join us at either noon, or again at one, for a 1 hour workshop on making this amazing and ancient beverage in your own home. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of history and fermentation, a recipe or two, and a growler of fresh-made mead with an airlock that they can ferment at home.

Cost: 40$ per participant, which includes a 32 oz growler full of fresh made mead with an airlock to take home, to continue fermenting.

For more information about the market, or to sign up for the workshop, check out bearspicnicmarket.com. Market runs from 12-6, free admission, free parking.