Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Vegan Month of Food 2016 Day 22 - More Memories

For today's Month of Food prompt, we are tasked with bringing you some silly food memories and/or traditions we have.

As with yesterday, I'm running on empty here. No judging, what I offer up is all I have.

My mother was an interesting woman. She was very smart, exceptionally creative and artistic, and had a flair for making something out of nothing. She played the guitar, could paint, was a seamstress, and her life was far too short. We grew up in an area which was generally middle class, but we were not. My dad had a very good job, but the house they got was big (4 kids), very old (about 200 years or so), and a total fixer upper. We didn't live a lavish lifestyle at all, money was exceptionally tight. My mother used to make my clothes. I hated that back then, now all I can say is how I wish I understood then what I do now, and how I wish she were here to design and make my clothes. The thing is, when you are 10, and in no way want to stand out in the crowd, home sewn clothes aren't the way to go. Let's just say I had immense character building in school as a child.

My mother made great effort to create a traditional home, and I mean old school authentic Colonial traditional. My one brother says something along the lines of "wasn't it great growing up in George Washington's home!" I laugh, but it's true. My mother loved traditional Colonial design, and we were surrounded by it. On a shoestring. She was always buying things at garage sales or picking things up at the curb to refinish, but she was super picky.... only traditional Colonial, aka what you'd find in George Washington's home as my brother says. By the time she finished with a project, it was a shining example of perfection. She had a flair for design, learned enough about antiques to "deal" a little bit further on down the line, and had an eye for good "bones" in furnishings as one would say. She filled her traditional Colonial home with those completely redone discards, and then at holidays all the stops came out with traditional super old fashioned decorating. This included the annual "making of the pomander balls." Every year we had to do this. We didn't use a pointy thing, nope, we had to stick the cloves one by one into the oranges weeks before Christmas so they would be ready on time. I absolutely hated doing them, my fingers would be stinging and raw doing them, but they got done. A week or so before Christmas, she would begin to rummage through her antique trunk which was absolutely packed with fabric remnants (you know, the bits and pieces from those odd dresses I was forced to wear that got me beat up that built character). She'd take her freshly sharpened pinking shears and cut the fabric just the right size, wrap the pomanders in the fabric, tie them with beautiful ribbon, then box them up for special people. Although the process of making them was something I dreaded every year, the finished product was something I truly looked forward to. They were magnificent. Talk about making something special out of practically nothing.... they were little bits of art. No one finished them the way she did.

When my mother died, I found a pomander ball that was about 20 years old hanging in her closet. That was a very chaotic time in my life; I did not keep that pomander, but remember to this day what it looked like, and that it still smelled so pretty. Of course there's many things I wish I kept, including the lone pomander.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was gifted with an abundance of Key limes and I decided to make some pomanders. I used a little toothpick to poke the holes, then stuffed them with cloves. This was about 7 weeks ago. They're all dried out, perfectly light, airy and fragrant. I will be threading the ribbon through them this weekend, and probably dressing the ribbon with some fancy beads or doo-dads before I decide what to do with them. But, for today, I jammed on a piece of white ribbon and took this picture:

Here's approximately what I used to make roughly 20 pomanders:

3/4 cup orris root
2T cinnamon
1T allspice
1T cloves
1T nutmeg

You can make pomanders with your choice of citrus. I've only ever done oranges though, and these Key limes. You can make little designs in your fruit, or stud them full like I did. Leave room at the top and bottom for a hole to slip the ribbon through when they dry out.

Stud your fruit with cloves, mix up your spices, pour the spices into a brown bag, and toss in your studded fruit. Shake the bag a couple times a week so the fruit rotates, and keep in a cool spot to allow them to dry. Mine probably were ready in about 2-3 weeks because Key limes are so small, but plan on about 3-4 weeks for an orange.

It's not a silly memory, and it's not something you'd eat, but these are food ingredients, of course they're vegan, and I was able to throw in a memory/story for you.

Somehow I just don't picture Martha Washington making pomanders.

Plant strong forever.

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet memory! I love the sound of your colonial house as well. Clothes-making is such a valuable skill, I have a few friends who always make their own and I'm so impressed. Of course, all kids just want to blend in as much as possible!