Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jack of All Trades....

When I was younger, the saying "Jack of All Trades and Master of None" meant you had a slight knowledge of all sorts of things, but not enough to make anything good enough to sell. 

Decades later it seems that a lot of things sold (other than food and even sometimes that can be included, especially when processed) is not top quality.  In the past, businesses used to pride themselves on giving good service, materials lasted for years (often generations - I'm still using sheets that have the World War II utility label!
Old furniture too can last, yet today everything made (probably deliberately) falls to bits within ten years.  Unless made by genuine craftsmen and then sold at a price few of us can afford.

Nowadays, we 'domestics' have the edge.  It is true we are mainly 'Jack (and Jills) of all trades), in that many of us can knit, sew, crochet, and - of course - can cook, and it was only yesterday, when I'd finished knitting my fifth square, that B looked at them all, admired them and said "Amazing! You could sell these - for about £3 each?  Had to point out that the yarn for each cost over half that, and as it would take a whole day to knit a square, leaving little time for anything else - it would have to be priced a lot more than that and "so why people buy covers and even whole cushions as they would be cheaper".
Incidentally, those who knit will appreciate that plain, purl and moss-stitches, can make lovely patterns when knitted in a certain order.  Using these as they are the only ones I remember other than cable - this I will be trying later.

Myself believe that being able to manage many of the domestic skills at amateur level is even better than being a master at just one.  A professional dressmaker might turn out wonderful clothes, but if no good at cooking is not much use around the house - unless of course we need a new outfit every few weeks. 

I've been feeling very much a Jill over the past few days.  Not only have I just got back to normality after my 'hobblies' and pill-confusion, but I've had to catch up on what chores I have not been doing, and this weekend had the cooking for the social club to deal with. Not to mention the knitting that has led me to discovering that just listening to TV soaps et al is almost as good as watching, so can do the two at the same time.

Then - of course - it is now autumn, and nature really has provided us with a bounty this  year.  In the club compound (where the boats are kept) there is a huge blackberry bush, and it seems that none of the sailors (mainly men) are not interested in the berries, so I ask B to bring me the ripe berries each time he is there (usually every day as he does a bit of voluntary DIY for the club).  It is not as though I NEED all the berries, but you know me, if there is something free that can be eaten and used, who am I to leave it to go to waste, although I suppose the birds might eat them.  There will always be plenty left for them as the bush is both very high and very wide, B cannot reach all.

Our apple tree is still dropping apples,  and still quite a number on the tree itself, so what do I do with all these? Process and freeze is the answer, so now - over the next few days - need to really sort out the freezer/s and find room.  Or else buy another freezer?

It makes sense not to store food too long in the freezer anyway as the running costs eat away at any savings that can be made.  Best thing to do is use what I have to bulk cook meals for the winter (spag bol meat sauce, chilli con carne, curries, samosas (to go with), casseroles, steak and kidney pies, meatballs, fish-cakes, lots of chicken stock.....then to those (when I have room) puddings such as Sticky Toffee Pudding, fruit pies, Ginger Cake, Black Forest Gateau, Cheesecakes, Baked Alaska, certainly Chocolate Fondants, and then start working our way through them.  It is so much easier (and quicker) to reheat a meal (or at least cook something on the hob using meat that has already been cooked before freezing).

Sorry I didn't have time to blog yesterday,  was so tired that I went to bed early (B was out at the social club) and this morning it was after 10.00am before I got up - mainly because I was having a lot of dreams, and I always enjoy these and didn't want to stop.

Today I have more cooking to do, a load of laundry (that will have to be dried on the airer as our deeds forbid us hanging out washing in the garden on a Sunday), and no it can't wait until tomorrow as B got blackberry juice on his cream trousers, and told me he had put all the trousers in the water when sponging just that bit, so if I leave them any longer without properly laundering they will begin to smell a bit 'stuffy'.

Have also to water all the containers in the garden - we haven't had a proper drop of rain for what now seems like weeks, and although a little has been forecast, this in only parts of the country, can't wait for it any longer.  Then - when back indoors - have to carry on cooking and doing as much as need to be done.   B is complaining that bought bread is turning mouldy before he finishes the loaf (and he only bought one little one last week to save me baking), he replaced it with another but from tomorrow I'll be baking bread again, so looks like I'm going to need to make lists for each day to make sure I do most of what needs to be done, otherwise I'll forget.

Haven't yet found that apple-recipe book, but will take another look today and hope that by next week I'll be able to give some useful but different recipes using this fruit. 

Will leave you today with a suggestion we choose one of the diets that Les has sent in.  My favourite (because it works) is the protein and veggie one.  Having said that no doubt I'll be making myself a sarnie with the last of the W.Watcher's bread.  The other day wrote about the calorie content of this compared to other breads, and although it is actually more per 100g than 'ordinary' bread, think the reason that each slice is so low in calories (50g), it is not just because it is light (contains more air), but also that the slices are very much thinner than the normal 'medium' sliced. 
At one time we could buy bread as thin-sliced, medium-sliced, or thick.  We now seem to be able to buy it only as 'medium', 'thick' (sometimes called 'toasting'), and now even 'extra thick' (for those who like thick toast).

Thin-cut sliced bread used to have 24 slices in the loaf, plus - I think - two crusts.  The medium today is 20 slices and not sure if this included the crusts or not.  Having less slices to make our sarnies means we then have to buy more bread so to the manufacturers it makes sense to stop selling the thin-sliced.
You would laugh at me, as when I have only the two crusts left in the bag of W.W. Danish, as they are then thicker than the slices, very carefully slices these in half horizontally to give me two more slices, and also two small thin crusts that are thin enough - when filled - to eat as another sarnie.  Could of course toast the crusts as is, but just getting those extra slices to make extra sarnies makes me feel smug. 

It's now mid-day, and if I don't start now I'll never get going.  If enough can be done today, then will be able to find time to blog tomorrow - probably late in the evening, but am trying to fit everything in so that I can go to bed early, these late nights are not a good idea.
Hope you are all having a good weekend.  From the lack of comments am sure you are all out BlackBerrying or enjoying the good weather while it lasts.  TTFN.