This article from the New York Times brings up the idea of learning how to use things like small batch flours, which vary in textures and protein levels, by having a willingness to experiment instead of just following a recipe.
It brought to mind a story from The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. During an unexpected season of blizzards that lasted 8 months, the Ingalls family were completely cut off from supplies. The small frontier town was just starting up and supplies went fast. Seed wheat ended up being the only source of grain to make bread. The only grinder available – an old hand cranked coffee mill – the kind with the little drawer that catches the grounds. This had to be turned all day to make enough “flour” for each person to have only a small amount of bread. If Laura’s mother had not been able to adjust her way of making bread to work with something more liked cracked wheat, that family would most likely have starved.
I think one of the reasons I love old stories like this is because of the ingenuity of the people. They had the ability to work with whatever was on hand, to make do. It was a skill to be proud of. A skill that has in many ways been lost in our society.
We could start by learning how to bake with small batch flours, then by cooking a meal with whatever is available in the garden. If we are craving apple pie and there are no apples, maybe we might think to try green pumpkin with the same spices – another trick up Caroline Ingalls sleeve.
Ingenuity- I’ll take a slice of that!