Woginrich’s subtitle, ‘Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life,’ was what originally drew me to the volume. Those of you who have been reading this for a while know I enjoy making things by hand and have, over the years, made more and more stuff that way. I haven’t bought bread in ages (save one emergency loaf six months ago), I rarely buy cookies (only the occasional Joe Joe’s!), and I like to sew. a lot. I’ve also gotten better at repairing sewn goods that I’ve bought, and grown my own veggies. I see what Jenna is after in her book, and I get it.
Woginrich provides lots of examples of her hit and miss homesteading out in Idaho. I appreciate her honesty, and it helps remind a novice urbanite (or, suburbanite, now) like myself that homesteading is hard work. Sure, sometimes I dream of a little flock of chickens laying eggs for me and a hive of bees to fertilize my plants and provide me with honey, but it’s a pretty romantic dream. Starting those projects, as Woginrich learned, and maintaining them are hard work. She divulges the real heartbreak she’s had in the process, but is always encouraging. So maybe I will get a beehive someday. But it won’t be soon.
Woginrich was very enthusiastic about bread baking. I remember the thrill of making my first loaf of bread, and noticing just how much better it was than anything I’d bought in the store. Dear readers have seen me make many, many loaves of bread on this blog, some with better success than others. Woginrich provides a fairly fool-proof recipe for country white bread, which, having not made it in ages, I eagerly assembled. It has great structure and holds up well for several days; you don’t get a lot of crumbling, which is often the case with homemade wheat breads. It lacks a little bit in the flavor department, but adding a little more salt and swapping in butter for veggie oil might do the trick. As it is, though, it makes excellent french toast and is a great vehicle for peanut butter.
Woginrich has written an easy read with a nice little index section. It might be enough to get me to buy my own banjo…