Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pioneer Cooking

     We had a big snowstorm last night, and unfortunately it knocked out our power just as my mom and I were scrambling to make dinner.  I would have given up, but luckily for all our hungry bellies, my mom has a much better concept of the fact that the world does not end when you have no electricity.

     We had already started soup and biscuits (which admittedly are probably the easiest things to cook without power.) And so when the power kicked out, my mom had me press the biscuits into two greased cast iron skillets, and bring everything down to the basement. We have two woodstoves (they are our main source of heat) but the one downstairs produces a lot more heat.

     So we put the soup on to boil on the range itself, grabbed the oven thermometer and when the stove reached 400 degrees, we slid in the first batch of biscuits.

The flashlight was the only way we could really see how everything was cooking
     Now take in mind that we are working in the basement with no power. And our basement, like most basements, has no windows. So we are sitting in complete darkness while we wait to see if this works. Poor Danny (our lab) could not understand why we did not turn a light on and why there was food downstairs, so he sat as close as he could to me.

     I think it is amazing how quickly your eyes look for light in complete darkness. The only light to be seen was a slight glow coming from the dampers on the woodstove (it's cast iron so it's not letting any light out) and the faintest illumination from the vents that lead upstairs to the living room (which was lit by candlelight.)

     There is something in the human that needs light as much as it needs food and so it finds light in any shape or quantity as it can. There is also something quieting about the pitch darkness that so few of us see in our modern world. Anyone that knows me will tell you that without a doubt I cannot handle silence. I squirm and fret, and talk non-stop if only to keep the lack of noise at bay. But sitting in the dark with my mom and a weirded out dog, I sat in silence. I just sat and watched the little bit of light flickered on the walls, and thought about how powerful darkness is.

     If you were wondering how it all turned out, well the soup was a much bigger success than the biscuits, we didn't quite cook them long enough so they were a little gooey in the middle. The oddest part for me was the fact that the combination of cast iron skillet and wood smoke flavored them oddly. But that flavoring enriched the soup perfectly, so most of the family just crumbled them into the bowl.

     The best part about all this snow and power outage was that the husbandman and I were home. We would have starved or frozen in our apartment, or crashed in the attempt to eat out. But at my parents' it was no big deal, we just all came out of our own rooms and sat together in the warmth of the living room and ate pioneer food. I had a blast.

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Ashley @ Little Miss Momma said...

Oh my, this seriously looks insanely yummy! how cool!

stephanie said...

This reminds me of my Grandma's food!! I love it!

Anonymous said...

I'm struck by the idea that even without commercial power, our modest home life is more comfortable than most peoples' in the world. Reason to count blessings.

the little wife said...

Thanks! The soup was really everything we had in the pantry mixed with leftovers that wouldn't make it if when the power to the fridge went out, and it turned out really well. I think its a couple of kinds of beans, some canned tomatoes, Italian sausage, the odd vegetable or three, and a bag of frozen mashed potato mix.

Paula said...

It sounds like you made the most out of your evening. There's nothing like wood stove heat. I grew up with it and miss it.

I'm visiting from Amanda's party.

the little wife said...

I love having the wood stoves, (although having heat in my bedroom makes getting up in the morning much easier) it just seems homier to have a fire going in the winter! I love it when the house smells like wood smoke and good food (as it so often does!)

Dogmom Diva said...

Hi there, thank you for posting on my blog! Three years go by pretty fast when you are my age! Love this post on the wood stoves, they are the best and glad your dinner turned out ok!

I had my blog design done by Cat at She is very reasonable and I love how she designed might check her out.

Thanks again for postng and nice to meet you!


Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Hi there!! Good thing your mom was around to help out--I'm a mess in the dark. We had a wood stove in our basement growing up, and it was amazing how warm it would keep our house. :) So neat that you got to cook dinner on yours!

Thank you so much for joining my party. Hope you'll stop by Serenity Now again soon! :)

the little wife said...

Thanks for much for hosting the party Amanda! I try and stop by daily, there is just so much inspiration on your site!
Barb- It was lovely to meet you! Thanks for the site, I'll have to check her out!