Hunger invades me as I recall my mother in her kitchen preparing a huge vat of chicken stock in her pressure cooker. Left-over chicken bones, vegetables, even onion skins, were tossed into the concoction to produce the fabulous stock she often froze for future use. Nothing beats homemade chicken stock, but I admit mine often comes out of a box from the grocery store. I buy the organic variety without added sugar, but it can’t hold a candle to my mother’s. I dice up a plethora of veggies (Mom would sauté them but I usually don’t bother), toss in sliced left-over chicken, season with salt to taste, heat until the vegetables are cooked, and voila: my husband’s favorite meal. Especially today, when he’s battling a cold. Doesn’t chicken soup cure about everything?

In most of Mom’s cooking extravaganzas, she started from scratch. Her home-canned peaches from our tree were to die for as were her dolmades, wrapped in leaves from my parent’s grape vine.

Adventurous as my mother was, she did not make her own pasta nor bread, something that many of you might do. And she served Campbell’s tomato soup with toasted cheese sandwiches for lunch for us kids.

When visiting, our son is welcome to cook in our kitchen.

When visiting, our son is welcome to cook in our kitchen.

What comes to mind when you hear the term Starting from Scratch? These days, is it the same as homemade? I think of the Amish who grow many of their own crops and can their produce up for winter. I love their pickled beets, applesauce, and chow-chow. Yum! These tasty treats remind me of sitting at an Old Order Amish friend’s table for dinner after bowing our heads in silent prayer.

What a delight to find these Amish-made jams and jellies for sale at the side of the road.

What a delight to find these Amish-made jams and jellies for sale at the side of the road.

All this talking about food is making me hungry. What is your favorite food item to prepare from scratch? At this moment popcorn sounds good.

A charming Amish-made apron from Lancaster County, and a towel and dish-rag.

Leave a comment to enter to win this charming Amish-made apron, towel, and washrag from Lancaster County, plus a signed copy of A Letter from Lancaster County, or one book from The Legacy of Lancaster County Trilogy: either Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork, or Forever Amish. Winner has three days to respond. USA and Canada only.

PS: On a serious note, if you preorder a copy of Starting from Scratch from an online vendor, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, or Christianbooks.com, you will qualify for an extra entry in an upcoming giveaway.

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