I told you it wouldn’t be long before I got another blog post out.
It feels like spring may finally arrive after what seems like the longest winter in my memory. I have been making soap to replenish my supplies and to create an inventory to sell.
Bygone Basics has two lines of soaps. One is a Heritage line. These soaps are heritage pure and made up of standard home goods available between the 1870’s and the 1940’s. Standard ingredients include rain water, goat or cow milks, castor oil, and several other ingredient options (and of course lye). Some of the soaps contain animal oils such as lard and tallow as well. These make a very good bar of soap by the way. If these soaps have scents, they are created by adding ground coffee (which is a fantastic way to get odors off your hands, such as garlic), cinnamon, and ground herbs. I am put off by soaps that smell of so much perfume they become offensive, plus I wonder at potential chemicals in the scent and colorant additions in some homemade soaps I see being sold. It is ok for many, I just don’t want to walk about smelling like a perfume shop, nor have my husband’s co-workers wonder why he smells…pretty. 🙂 Just personal taste.
The second line is so much FUN. It is a play on the words “alphabet soup.” The line is Alphabet Soap. Each soap variation in this line has ingredients that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet (some have to stray on an ingredient once in a while). For example, one of the “C” soaps is a kitchen (citchen?) has these ingredients:
- coconut oil
- cocoa butter
- castor oil
- coffee grounds
These soaps and home dipped bygone era candles, as well as
baked goods, jams/jellies..etc (things of bygone eras) will be for sale at the Bygone Basics Pantry, located at Amanda’s Bequest, the home of Bygone Basics, 5200 Anderson Rd., Montague, MI 49437 beginning May 1, 2011.
Tallow as it melts. This batch is about half done.
I started to tell you, and then sidetracked myself….Tallow. It is hard to find. It reminded me of the frustrating time last summer when my daughter, Jessica, and I were trying very hard to find a source of local goat’s milk for soap. We were told repeatedly where we might find a source but kept striking out. She quipped in frustration, “Everyone knows someone who sells goat’s milk, but no one actually does!” I’ve gone to a couple of butchers and they weren’t sure what it even was!? FYI, it is a very hard fat deposit on lean grazing animals like deer, sheep and goats and sometimes around the kidneys of cattle. In the past, my source was deer, taken on the property…but we now live in a no-hunting zone, where there are 20 deer standing in my lawn at any given time….just teasing me.
You may remember that the Bygone Basic’s kitchen is under renovation, but fortunately, we have a second kitchen here. Nothing fancy, but it does the job.
This is our second kitchen. It works just fine for us. Note the Guiness cake cooling in its springform pan.
Today, I am making a cake for my mother. Guiness cake.
Yes, it has almost a full bottle of Guiness Extra Stout in it and becomes a very moist, chocolatey cake.
The Guiness has a way of not adding it’s own flavor, but of adding a wonderful depth and dimension to the chocolate (the alcohol cooks off).
The cake is in the oven and the tallow on the stovetop. A wonderful "back home" aroma.
……..AND, I am rendering tallow. The house smells like bygone homes where the kitchen eminated aromas of wonderful baking and the chores of economy (rendering tallow for example). Tallow was inexpensive (or free if you hunted or farmed your own animals) and used in many ways in bygone era homes….but you had to render it. Rendering is just cooking the hard tallow into a melted liquid and then straining it to remove impurities. Those strained impurities will go into the composter. We really do try not to waste anything.
Speaking of letting nothing go to waste, later today, I am making a series of “B” soaps. What starts with “B”? Beer. The rest of that Guiness (and then some) is going into a complexion bar I’ve developed. 🙂 Never a dull moment here.
If you are interested in having any of these unique experiences and gaining their associated heritage skill, call or email today to get the date of your choice in the Bygone Basics kitchen.
Until next time…thinking SPRING!