Friday, June 11, 2010

Starting from Scratch



In the modern day, starting from scratch has become something of an archaic idea. The process of beginning from the most basic ingredients is a time consuming process, and our crazy lives don't favor time wasting! Throughout our long history on earth, we have learned to develop shortcuts. The horse drawn plow, the printing press ... the entire industrial revolution!

Shortcuts aren't bad. The invention of the printing press allowed for books to become a commonplace item, and given how many are lining the walls of our house - we're quite pleased with the invention. :) Mass manufacturing has created a world in which I can head down to my local Walmart and pick up anything I could possibly need. If I want a strawberry in December, I can find it.  If I want a dress worn by some starlet in a movie, I can head down to the mall and find a knock off in any color. Rice-a-roni is always in our pantry, and I have never darned a sock in my life. My life is luxurious by traditional standards, and I like it that way!

Humans have always had a common knowledge, but it has changed over the years. A few hundred years ago that common knowledge consisted of caring for livestock, medicinal herbs, carpentry, handwriting, building a strong fire, etc.  Today it includes basic car maintenance, operating electronics, information filtering, pharmacology and road navigation. Ours is a different skillset - obviously related to that of our ancestors, but more further removed its origins. We know how to use the tools, but not how the tools are made.

What I want to do with this blog is to share my experiments in starting from scratch. I'm 29, and a product of my generation. I wasn't interested in cooking growing up, so I didn't bother learning much. I thought gardening was something best left for retired people. My interest in art for the longest time started and ended with Photoshop and a camera. I've always had a love of history, the obscure, the lost arts, and as I get older I want to bring them back to life.

I want to understand where my food comes from, and imagine metalsmiths in history as I hammer a hunk of copper into shape. I want to know what they knew, and get that rush of accomplishment when my project is done. I want to sit back and marvel at what you can do when you start from scratch!

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