Monday, August 15, 2011

Bacon, Smoked Ham, Ham Hocks, Liver Paté even, but no Terrine!

Box one of two.
Many people ask me, "How do you do it all?" Meaning, how do I find the time to do all the things I do, and write about them, and photograph them. Well, I often reply, I don't! Not all of it. There's so much I don't do. Like cleaning. And calling my friends more. And reading. I'd also like to point out that most of the things I do are very easy, once you get them into your routine. Bonus, if you really like making yogurt or bread or jam. Some people don't.

A few weeks ago, I started getting really exhausted. My back started bothering me a lot. Gardening and lifting my thirty-pound toddler had been taking a toll. I took out a few yoga videos from the library because I knew what I needed was some good stretching. As I read the back covers of the DVDs, I thought disdainfully: I don't have time for yoga!

And then I had this second thought: Seriously? I don't have time to not do yoga! It's funny, because I'm talking like some high-powered executive. Well, let's be real, shall we? I happen to be a homesteady-obsessed stay-at-home mommy of one toddler. Not exactly Soulemama, right? Rather rationally, I thought to myself: you need to cut something out. And immediately it came to me, clear as a bell: the blog.

I love the blog. I don't want to kill the blog, I screamed! Let me tell you what the blog does for me. It wraps up a few of my favorite things--writing, photography, food-- in one fell swoop. It also deeply satisfies a few other cravings I have. That of connecting with people who care about similar things, and the documentarian in me, so I can go back and see what I made and how I made it. But the quick and dirty fact about the blog, and it sounds so horrible, but this thing is not a paying gig, you know? And there are some things I need to be focusing on, that take precedence over something that is solely a self-centered pleasure.

Once I stopped obsessing about the blog, I suddenly felt a wave of relief. And then panic. And then a realization that I had been blogging for almost two years with no break! Maybe I'm just tired, I thought. Maybe I need to recharge. I'm not sure I can do this was a thought. Well, I'm not going to end my blog. I actually can't! Not because I think anybody will miss it. But, because I will miss it. Not because it's important to anyone. But because it's important to me. I'm trying to figure out how to make sure it doesn't take over my life, and that means keeping my nose out of Twitter and Facebook, much as I like to socialize. And maybe not posting every little victual I cook up.

And that brings me to this month's Charcutepalooza challenge. One of the things I also realized about having this blog, is that I've become a better cook for it. Joining Tigress' Can Jam and then Charcutepalooza really have pushed me to strive a little; something that's really not in my nature. I'm more of a perservere-er. (Very similar to the word preserver!) But this month's terrine challenge I really had no gumption for, even though I really wanted to make something, perhaps this tomato terrine from Bon Appétit. I was a little too overwhelmed, having ordered a half hog from Meiller's Slaughterhouse in Pine Plains.

After curing and smoking ten pounds of bacon, 3.5 pound of hocks, and a twenty-two pound ham, and making two huge loaves of liver paté, I was sort of exhausted (though it looks like I may be in luck for next month). Maybe that's what tipped me over the edge. That and the heat we were having at the time. Now it's been gorgeous out, the humidity and haze has lifted, and the air is clear and crisp making each leaf on a tree stand out. Every blade of grass looks distinct. The sky is blue with puffy clouds, the trees rustle in the breeze, and it gets cool at night which makes sleeping all that much more sweet. It's a small taste of autumn right around the corner. I'm looking forward to writing about it. Just a little.