Monday, October 22, 2012

i made butter the other day.  we had tracy and dave over.  we were all gathered around the kitchen island.  we were putting together a little birthday feast for ourselves. the october babies....3 of the 4 of us were born within 10 days. we nibbled on cheese and fruit and chocolate and bread with glasses of wine.  while roasting a prime rib and sauteeing garlic and rosemary.  rinsing vegetables.  chopping and blending for leek soup and salad.  it was a warm and happy and busy little room.  a beautiful chaos. 
i have been eager to make my own butter lately.  fresh butter.  so in the spirit of our wonderful little evening, i powered up the kitchen-aid and poured in the cream left over from the leek soup.  and in ten minutes after much speculation and splashing, like a miracle, we had wonderful creamy, icy cold butter.  the best i've ever tasted.  really truly, the best. 
everytime i reach for the fresh butter in it's little red pyrex container, i can't help but think of my grandmother.  my grandmother in her farm kitchen.  with her 5 children who would bring buckets of milk to her from the barn each morning. and she would seperate the milk from the cream.  the cream separater with it's dozens of discs she had to take apart and boil clean twice a day.  and then turning that cream into the butter that her crew of sons devoured on the bread she made daily.  all so basic.  and all such monotonous hard work.  no wonder her hands were twisted and arthritic for most of the time i knew her.  beating cream into butter by hand, whipping it and beating it as it grew heavier and heavier for up to 20 minutes without stopping.  and yet life was sweet and full of happiness and love. maybe moreso because of the hard work. 

10 comments:

  1. How wonderful, that you made your own butter. Your whole day sounds simply a splendid time . I would never think of making my own butter.
    Would have loved to taste some.. All those nice goodies on the table , and with close friends celebrating birthday.
    A perfect day for you Laura.
    val x

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    1. it sure was a great evening, val. and the butter was great.
      thanks for all your nice comments!

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  2. With the modern conveniences of using Kitchen-Aids, and food processors you can just about make anything nowadays. I can't imagine making your own butter everyday but I know people did. My m-i-l said her mother had a butter churn that she used...that in and of itself looked hard to do but I can't imagine doing it by hand. Your poor grandmother's hand's! My m-i-l had the most crippling looking arthritic hands and yet she said they didn't hurt her. :)

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    1. hi kris. i know....that's what i was thinking about....how we do everything with electric appliances. i think my grandma used a hand churn....that's what i meant.
      i hope you week starts out great!!!

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  3. My dearest Annette...
    like you I love having my "feasts" in the kitchen. There is no warmer cosier room in the house. All my closest friends agree with that : )

    Love the story about your grandma. Made me warm inside

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    1. oh, lovely demie....thank you for your lovely comments. wouldn't it be fun to have a feast together!!!

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  4. Such wonderful imagery. Your posts are always so evocative. Those memories of your grandmother...

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    1. thanks jen. i was lucky to spend lots of growing up time with one grandmother. and lots of adult time with the other. i loved those ladies!

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  5. My grandma made her own butter. It was delicious. This would have been in the late 1950's and very early 1960's. I don't remember the churn she had, but I remember a wooden butter mold that she used. As a young child, I didn't know what kind of flower that was carved on it. I know now it was a thistle. I don't know what must have happened to her butter mold after her passing. She also cooked on a big black wood burning stove, for big crowds of family. I don't know how she did it. She was in her early 70's when she passed. She gardened, raised chickens, canned, cooked, and made butter right up to the end. I am wondering how much cream it takes to make any given amount of butter, and did you add any salt to it? You've got me hungry for homemade butter!

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    1. hi susie....
      i forgot about the molds. oh, i wish i had my grandma's. our busy and productive grandmothers molded US in a way.
      i poured maybe a cup or two of whipping cream into the kitchen aid. and it filled a little vintage square pyrex container. probably half a pound or a little less. i really don't know the amounts. i put a bit of salt. i'll put more next time.

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