Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Toiling away in the kitchen...

So it's possible that that last applesauce post of mine made it seem like this whole canning business is easy-peasy, but in fact, it's damn hard work.  One of the reasons I wanted to try my hand at canning (besides the obvious fact that it helps us eat more locally year-round, by preserving summer crops grown in the Madison area for eating in the winter and spring) was that I wanted to have a better sense of connection to the men and women I write about who canned food in the home and factory environments in the early twentieth century. The men in the factory had a whole different set of issues to deal with, but those women at home were doing much of the same sort of work that I'm trying my hand out.  Well, by "much of the same," I may mean that the general process of sterilization and preservation of food by heat and vacuum sealing was the same, but of course many of them had to deal with a lack of running water, or stoves that had to be supplied with firewood and stoked by hand, or kitchens with no ventilation, or homes with nothing like the air conditioning that sometimes pumps through our house and keeps the home environment tolerable even as the water in the canner boils away. So, not really the same at all.

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