Thursday, September 8, 2011

The hostess, letting others do the most-ess

posted by Melissa
Olives at the Spanish market Amy took me to today.
Spanish Paella Fiesta!
It's my birthday tomorrow.  I am having a hard time balancing "letting others do things for me" and "being the hostess."  I love to cook and plan, and as someone else said, maybe, be in control of the party.  I half-heartedly sent email invitations to some people, texted others and told some in the building doorway as I opened the door for them.   I go through my worries:  Will there be enough food?  Enough paella?  And I have never made paella before, I might totally F this up (the disclaimer.)

There are always those worries when you host a party.  I have to say, I usually handle them pretty well.  I can be a relaxed hostess.   I think it is just that this time, Amy is helping me, which I love, I really do.  Amy, thanks for everything you have done already and will do tomorrow while I am soaking in a hot tub at the spa! YTB!  (stands for you're the best!  I once got that txt from a friend and thought, why is she saying you total bitch to me?)

What I love about Amy and her party planning is that she is very thorough and organized.  What I find challenging about hosting a party together is that I am not thorough and organized.  (I used to be, then I had three kids)   And I keep feeling like I am going to screw up her party mojo.  Cause, I have been to her birthday party, and it was on point.

I'll let you know how tomorrow goes.

Yes you Can!
Tonight, in the midst of an evening where I would have rather been party planning, or pre-making sangria, Amy and I went to a canning class at the local Co-op.  I left my apartment to wails of "Don't go, Mama!  You have to stay!!!" from my youngest.  She's 6, and yes, she still throws down a mean tantrum. I peeled myself from her grip and hoped that my Mom, who she was staying home with, would be able to calm her down.  The further I walked, the less I cared.  Sorry.

Maybe Amy should have showed off her can balancing
skilz tonight at class.
The class was held in an office in the apartments above the co-op, so it was basically in an apartment.  at first it was kinda odd, but I eased into the setting.  The same way I get used to that crappy kitchen wall I still have.  Only this wasn't as crappy, just odd.

The teacher that came from Seattle Tilth,  Carrie (sp?), was great.  She really knew her canning stuff, and as much I as was not all that into going at the beginning, I felt it was totally worth it.  It was great to see the whole process first hand.  She went over all the safety tips, great books and websites for resources,  and walked us through making peach jam and canning it in a wet bath.

What I took home was to make sure I get a tested recipe, as a beginner.  I need to know that everything about my recipe and procedures are safe.  Makes sense.  Then after I get more used to the process (if I keep doing this homesteading thing) I can experiment.

Important things I remember  (after not taking notes):
-pH is imperative.  Make sure you food is highly acidic.  Below 4.6 pH (I think, you might want to double check me on that website I linked to.)  (OK, I check it for you, and yes, I was correct.)
-FAT TOM  stands for Food, Acid, Time, Temperature, Oxygen, Moisture  and these are all factors in preserving food.
-When cutting a peach, if it is a freestone variety, it is much easier.
-If you use Pomona's Pectin, you can choose the amount of sugar you add.
-If you are prepared and clean and follow directions well, it is not a difficult process.
-If your can doesn't seal properly, i.e. making that popping noise that tell you you got a good seal, then store it in the fridge and use it within a week or so.
-If it does make a good seal, store it at room temp and use it within a year.

Just wait til we try it ourselves!

Good night,


Ann said...

Guys...I have a giant canning pot in my garage WAITING for you to use!! Let me know if you want to borrow is from my parents' basement and I used it once and learned canning is not for me. Too much work! Too much mess! But I applaud your efforts!!

Melissa said...

Thanks, Ann!!! I think having two might just make it a lot faster! I'll make sure Amy gets in touch with you about that.