Hip Girl’s Guide To Homemaking: Finalists!

It’s an exciting time here at Local Kitchen: comments are closed on The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking book contest, and it’s time to vote for the winner! There were lots of great stories, savvy home tips, and inspirational comments (surf on over there to take a look if you haven’t yet): I enjoyed reading every one. But, as they say, there can be only one. I’ve narrowed the field to five contenders: people who shared preserving stories, home fix-it triumphs, even a poem or two. It’s up to YOU to vote for your favorite, in the poll below, and decide the winner!

But first, the finalists! They all tell a great story, in their own way. I loved the story from miacupcake, about the perils of fruit butter (Oh, have I ever been there):

I made vanilla bean pear butter last summer, using up a slug of pears we picked up at our local farmers’ market.

I was chugging along, stirring the pot and feeling very Martha when a big bubble popped and splotched a huge blob of it onto my hand. I wiped it off (dumb) only to have the burn blister grow exponentially across my hand as I wiped.

Couldn’t bring myself to eat any of it after I canned it all…but my friends said it was really good! (still have a small scar on my hand to remind me.)

Won’t stop me from trying again this summer :D

If for nothing else, this great story from Beth about pressure canning tomato sauce would have made the cut for the newly-coined term “devil’s Crock-Pot.” Love it! (I, too, have an irrational fear of the pressure canner; I’m working through it with my therapists, Drs. Cabernet and Sauvingnon).

My favorite recent DIY memory is from the day I purchased a pressure canner. I invited my mom and my best friend over for what was going to be an epic tomato sauce (some meat, some veg, hence the need for pressure over water bath) canning session.

I always underestimate the time and effort that goes into this stuff.

Eight hours and a few bottles of wine later, our shirts were ruined with tomato splatters and bandages had been liberally distributed due to lack of knife skills (the wine had nothing to do with it, I swear). We were huddled outside my kitchen door debating whether or not the noises coming from this pressure canner meant the end was nigh (I think I referred to the canner as the devil’s crock-pot at one point).

Despite our tiredness and fussing, we all walked away with a bounty of delicious tomato sauce. Seven months later I am still grateful that I can crack open a jar of rich, meaty sauce on those nights when I’m too beat to put effort into cooking. I get it simmering, crack an egg into it to poach, and pour it all over some polenta. Divine and completely worth the blood, sweat, and tears.

How could I not include this story from Lila, who, while dealing with a mastectomy and cancer treatment, found the energy to fix her own recliner?

Because of cancer and treatment I often think of myself as weaker than I am.  After waiting for four months for my son to fix my recliner that had a broken back he finally arrived and fixed it within 10 minutes.  This is where I read, watch t.v. and sleep because of the mastectomy.  Within a week, it was broken again.  Thinking about it, I realized it had taken him such a short time to fix something that I had agonized over for four months.  I had  not seen what he did, but pushed the chair over and studied it for quite a while.  Finally found a slipped nut and bolt and stripped section, I started working on that.  I took me quite  a while, but  I preservered and viola, it is working again.  I don’t know for how long, but that encourages me to try “doing it myself” on other projects around my home.

And then the gods answered my prayers and a few people gave me poetry. From Lauren at Spiced Plate, a limerick!

Once there was a girl named Lauren
who wanted to plant her own little garden
so she moved to a farm
but quite to her alarm
she realized it wasn’t her charm
and decided that a smaller plot
would be a better start
so now she has plans for an allotment

And from Bethany, at Sustainable Food for Thought, a haiku!

tomatoes everywhere
canning through the midnight hours
yet winter thanks me

I love them all, and can’t possibly pick a favorite, so I’ve left that up to you. On to the voting!

One vote per person, please. Voting will close at noon on Thursday, and the winner will be announced Thursday afternoon. A brand spanking new copy of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking will be on its way to the winner as of Friday morning! Finalists, please make sure I have a way to contact you in case you win. Everyone else, thanks so much for sharing your stories, for voting, and for helping to make Kate’s book launch a success. Check back with the Hip Girl’s Facebook page often, as there are more giveaways and contests in the works!

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