Thursday, January 01, 2009

Slowing it Down

I think this world is spinning faster than most of us can hold on and that's a stressful way to live. I'm a firm believer that stress will cause more damage to one's health than anything else. 2008 went by so quickly that I can barely recall what went on. The funny thing is, the faster things go, the less I seem to get done.

I don't think I or my blog could be considered as the 'fast food' type, but just in case, I'm declaring this space a Slow-er Food spot - at least for this year. I'm not going 'whole hog' here, because we are a large family and sometimes convenience is just more ... well ... convenient, but I am all for rolling the clock back on our food choices and taking the time to really notice what we're eating, how it's being prepared and what it actually tastes like. There's nothing worse than finishing a meal without having tasted it because you're too busy to notice. Slow food is also usually more budget friendly and that suits my Scot spirit just fine.

2009 is a time to put on the brakes and do the Sunday drive. I expect my food posts to reflect that and am starting with this one.


The other day we all took turns making butter. I've done it lots before, but it's more fun to do it with other people. My mom can recall her grandfather sitting on his porch in a rocking chair, rocking away and shaking a big jar filled with cream - helping grandma to get her butter made.

If you've never made butter, it's the simplest of foods to make. All you need is a large jar and some heavy cream. I poured a single cup of heavy cream into a one-quart glass jar, tightened down the lid and passed it around for everyone to shake. You need room for the cream to move, so make sure your jar is at least twice the volume of the cream you're adding.

It really doesn't matter how you shake it; back and forth, up and down, around in circles if you want - just shake it for a while and soon enough you'll get butter. If you've ever been told not to beat heavy cream for too long, this is the reason why. The next step after whipped cream is butter.

Shake the jar until a lump of butter forms; this took us about 25 minutes with everyone pausing while passing the jar. Make sure the cream is good and cold and once there is a firm ball of butter in the jar, pour out the contents into a large bowl.

Look closely and you'll see the lump of butter in there.

Butter in whey. (Why, yes - those are chocolate chip cookies in the background.)

Rinse the whey from the butter and continue rinsing while you knead the butter. The water needs to be very cold for this part.

Changing over to a large bowl to rinse and knead.

Once the water runs clear, add salt if you like and you're done! We got just over a half cup of butter from one cup of cream.

My daughter Megan said it was the best butter she's ever had. I do believe she's right.


Annie Jones said...

I like the idea of slowing down this year.

I'm surprised you didn't save your whey for bread, soup, etc.

Anne Coleman said...

There wasn't enough whey left for anything else, really. After a single cup of cream made about 3/4 cup of butter, it wasn't worth saving. Good point, though! I'll bring that up in another post - thanks!

Reeni said...

I was wondering what to do with my leftover cream! I have to remind myself to slow down when I'm eating all the time, it's a great sentiment for the New Year.

growingupartists said...

What a great resolution! I'll enjoy watching you settle into a more satisfying and rewarding life.

Happy 2009!

Blah Society said...

Stress sucks. I had a "journal" about the stresses in my life for a couple of months. It was for an assignment. I made a lot of realizations, but ultimately realized that stress is a neverending circle. It's how we deal with it that makes the difference and determines the outcome...

Michele said...

I haven't made butter since I was a little girl. I think it will be a good thing to do this weekend. I'm all about slowing down. If I don't I'm going to blow. My health has suffered and I'm stressed to the limit. It's time to have a slower paced year.

kat said...

Oh, I can't imagine how good homemade butter is!

Kata Wagner Berg said...

Just found you here:

You really have 7 kids and look like that...u must be a superwoman :)

I also saw you Philly Steve'steak..that I will try to make for my husband! He just love stuff like that!

happy New year!

Hug from Budapest

Anonymous said...

Ah thank you for the instructions, I must try this, it looks wonderful!

Soge shirts said...

Slowing down is a great idea. Life and food are to be enjoyed slowly. Thanks for the butter tips.

Shaheen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaheen said...

This is awesome! Reminds me of watching my grandmum make ghee. Wizz up the cream collected over a period of 2 weeks (as opposed to buying it). This is because an av. Indian household gets their milk fresh from the milkman, so it needs to be boiled before consumption. And when it's boiled, the cream rises to the top and creates a thick film that can be separated from the milk.