when i got home today, jim was researching wood smokers. even the completely accurate question of “where the hell do you think you’re going to hang a whole side a bacon? or a whole ham? you think our neighbours want it in the basement?” did not seem to make a difference. (“well it just needs to be the right temperature, and then you get a thing that tells you the humidity”) i told him we dont need one right now. (“they come in electric, it’s better cause it regulates itself….”) i think i got home just in time.
he had also been researching other methods of curing meat. he explained the process to me – coat it in a layer of salt and curing salt, leave it in a bag in the fridge for a week….
we are getting this book at some point in the near future http://www.amazon.ca/Charcuterie-Michael-Ruhlman/dp/0393058298/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b but not the smoker. sausages are on our horizon. seriously, we should take the hint and just open up a progressive, hippe/yuppie-style food business.
in other ‘we are going to become entirely self-sufficient’ news, i had asked my mom about her old sewing machine a few weeks ago since i am looking to get my hands on one somewhere. she has an old singer, generally known for having been amazing quality machines but now have recently been slacking off. the word is – get your hand on an old singer, dont bother with the new ones. my mom found hers in the basement. yesterday, i was at her place and she brought it up. it comes in a huge wooden box that has a lock. the box is heavy and soild and made me think “this is a coffin”. the key is long gone, but luckily i totally fooled the lock into thinking that it was being greeted by the key again, finally, after all these years, but really it was a screwdriver.
this thing has sat in our basement for about 20 years. i can only vaguely, blurrily remember my mom using it once or twice to make curtains or fix something. i remember being too small to see it properly – too small to see the tabletop. she bought it when she was my age now, and it was already second-hand by then. *
how much second hand? well first of all it looks like this
so my first hint that it was pretty darn vintage is that you crank it by hand. it makes a swish-swish, comforting sort of noise as the machinery spins around. theres no foot pedal and certainly no electricity. i wondered if maybe singer keeps track of its serial numbers, and maybe that would tell me how old it is. well they do. its serial number tells me it was made in the beginning of 1911.
so lets think for a bit – this machine has seen both world wars. its older than my grandma, who was a seamstress. it was probably outdated by the time she was working as a seamstress. its older than jims grandma, and shes turning 90 this year. google ‘fashions of 1911’ to see what it would have been making. my mom and i sat together in front of a computer for a long time looking at what comes up. think of all the woman who have sat behind it. most would now be dead and gone. how many houses has it been in? how many 5-year old girls learned to sew along side their mothers and grandmothers on it? after a little bit of twiddling knobs and looking for sliding panels, i managed to thread it. i pushed a dishtowel through it to see what it would do.
it made me a roughly strait line of nearly-even stitches. it still works. it needs servicing and it needs a wipe-down, but it still functions. its gorgeous. the front face, which you cant see in that picture, has a beautiful leaf-and-vine stamped metal plate – purely for looking pretty.
its going to stay with my mom and continue living in the basement until she decides what to do with it. its lovely and amazing and its a treasure, but i dont want it at my place. i will get myself a sewing machine from craigslist i think.
also, making blogs is getting addicting. https://saffronandjade.wordpress.com/ not that, you know, i actually expect it to turn into anything.
*speaking of being too small to see the tabletop – cordelia can now bump her shoulder on the table instead of her head. seriously, this is upsetting. how do i make her stop growing and keep her small and snuggily forever? will i seriously have to buy her a new snowsuit before the end of this winter?