Friday, October 3, 2008

Hints & Help From Harriet

Now I'm going to share a list with you. The list comes from Portland home economics maven, Harriet Fasenfest. It's a list of tips and ideas that will provide a good foundation for development of a home economic plan for your kitchen and pantry. Although I've never had the good fortune to meet Harriet, I'm an avid reader of her charming posts at the Dinner Guest Blog section of Culinate. And since the early days of it's inception, I've been yearning to take one (or all) of the classes offered by Harriet and her business partner Marge Braker through Preserve. Preserve is the business founded by Harriet & Marge and at Preserve they teach "The art and science of food preservation". Unfortunately yet another year has come and gone and I couldn't figure to fit Preserve into my schedule yet again. Fortunately, the ladies are already planning their 2009 class schedule and I'll have another opportunity to learn food preservation from the experts..and so will you. Here's the list. It's really quite sensible and simple. I bet many of you already do some or all of the things on the list. If not, try one or two them and let me know how it goes.

Plan menus and stick to them. They’re a time and waste saver.

Create systems. Monday, bread and stock. Tuesday, yogurt. Wednesday, granola. Etcetera.

Use leftovers. Roast chicken becomes chicken for sandwiches becomes chicken salad.

Make your own stocks, yogurts, and fermented veggies. They’re really good and really easy to make.

Eat more grains and legumes. (Diet for a Small Planet, anyone?)

Buy in bulk. Packaging is nice, but it is still embodied energy.

Grow your own food. Lettuce, tomatoes, basil, garlic, kale, and leeks would be a good start. Focus on a few that can be used during different seasons.

Go to farms with friends. It’s better for the budget.

Support CSAs if you need more produce.

Buy produce in volume and in season. Freeze and preserve the excess.

Glean. There’s plenty of fruit everywhere and it makes great butters and sauce.

Preserve. Tomatoes (lots), applesauce, apple butter, and frozen berries would be a good start. Which is to say, start slow, adding only what your family likes and can eat in a reasonable amount of time.

Shorten your hours at the office or quit your job if at all possible. Well, that’s another post, but I mean it.

P.S. - I almost forgot to mantion that Harriet has also written a treatise on home economics, which is available to download for free at the Preserve web site. It's called 'In Search of the Seamless' and it's a very good read.


  1. Hey Glenn,

    Thanks so much for the support. I happened upon your blog and am flattered by your kind words.

    For the record, I'm not a professional home economist but a layperson. But then I don't think we need academic training to understand how (and how not) to renew healthy economies in our homes.

    Thanks again and hope to see you in some of my classes (Marge is now retired). I'm thinking of teaching a class on "house-holding" which is like homemaking but a with a somewhat broader perspective.

    I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your blog. I'm actually blown away that your read The Seamless. I would welcome a further conversation on it since I know it can be a little dense.


  2. Harriet, it's always a pleasure to find out that someone is actually reading this blog...especially when that person is someone who has been an inspiration for me. Preserve is one of the most fascinating entities I've encountered in my exploration of the sustainable, practical, and valuable resources that exist in my backyard. People who possess the skills and knowledge that you do and have the ability to share that knowledge with others have a greater importance today than perhaps at any time in our nation's history. I sincerely hope that more folks find out about you, read The Seamless, and take a class or two at Preserve.