Three families challenge themselves to survive on only what they hunt, forage and farm.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Mark: Twenty Questions, Post-Challenge
1. What was the best part of the challenge?
A sense of accomplishment, for having undergone a rare experience. Tasting lost flavors.
2. What was the most difficult part of the challenge?
The amount of time it took to cook and clean every meal.
3. What was the most valuable lesson you learned?
Life in the past must have been real tedium! You see people complain about the tedium of food making and cleaning on reality shows. It is all true!
4 What was the best recipe you made during the challenge?
As a staple, my crackers came out well. As an individual meal, turkey soup.
5. Was there anything that you did, grew, cooked or tasted that you would never repeat?
6. What was the most valuable purchase? What was least valuable purchase?
I bought sugar, salt, vinegar, milk, cream cheese, and 1/4 jar of baking soda (using the 'Jackson stores' rule.) I don't think any of those was a bad purchase. I actually had $.95 of unspent money at the end of the challenge. I did buy too much salt, but that was a $.29 purchase.
7. What was the best trade item? What was the worst trade item?
Best trade item is a toss-up between the turkey and eggs. Without those two items the challenge wouldn't have gone very long at all!
8. What disappeared from your stores the fastest? What never left the shelf?
I tried very hard to eat my stores evenly. If I had to say one item I would probably have to pick the chow-chow relish I got in trade from the Jacksons. It was great on crackers and the two little jars I had weren't nearly enough.
9. Did you lose any food to spoilage? If so, what?
Lots! For those of you who didn't read this blog daily, I made a very stupid error last summer. We were going to visit friends in Mississippi, and I had a frantic day of work before we left. I unplugged the freezer in the basement to plug in a bandsaw, and, well, I forgot to plug it back in. 6 summer days later I noticed my mistake! I think I had 5 or 6 lbs of fish and small game, along with various vegetable stores. That mistake definitely cost me days in the challenge.
10. What is the most questionable thing you ate? Suspect food, dropped food, etc.
Well...I had a jar of spaghetti sauce. There was a good bit of hair growing on the top. I considered for a while, scraped the top off, and gave it a smell. It smelled okay, so I ate it! And I lived! I figure most of the things that grow on vegetable matter are yeasts and the like, nothing truly awful like rotting meat.
11. Are there any ingredients you never used before the challenge, but now that it is over you plan to add to your repetoire?
I never really used rosemary before, and it was a staple spice for me. Coriander seed too. I ate a lot more eggs and a lot more pickles than I normally would. I haven't really been eating a lot of pickles since the challenge ended, but my egg count is still up.
12. What surprised you during the challenge?
I was surprised at how much better the food was in the second challenge! The few dollars we got to spend at the store made a big difference. Having all that wheat, maple sugar, an abundance of eggs, all those things really helped make it a positive experience.
13. What was the most important "AHHHH HAH" moment?
It came too late! After I had already processed 25 lbs of wheat I figured out how to separate it using a rolling pin. That would have saved me so much time!
14. What was the biggest disappointment?
My fish soup. I was really looking forward to making it for a long time, and it turned out terribly. Worst of all I didn't finish it in one sitting and had to eat it the next day.
15. What do you think your most important cooking implements/tools were?
The Paste Queen noodle maker and Corona grain mill. A wire wisk came in a distant third.
16.What did you enjoy eating that everyone else would say is 'gross'?
The pate I made from turkey gizzards. It was FANTASTIC!
17. What are your feelings about your diet of ‘normal’ food now that the challenge is over?
It is convenient. It is heavy. It is oily, and I eat sooo much meat.
18. If you did the challenge again, what would you make certain to plant more of?
Last year was a terrible planting year for me. I don't think there is anything I couldn't have used more of. Except beets. I am done with those.
19. If you had $10 more, how much longer do you think you could have survived the challenge? What would you have spent that $10 on?
I think I could have made it at least another week for $10. I would have purchased a flat of 30 eggs, a gallon of milk, 10lbs of flour, and 3lbs of peas/beans. I think I could get all that for $10.
20. If you were to do the challenge all over, what rules would you change?
I won! I wouldn't change any rules!
If we are talking about doing another competition, well, you'll just have to stay tuned to see what new rules we come up with!
We hope you enjoy our blog about 3 challenges we embarked upon to experience eating from the past. We grew our own food, hunted, gathered and preserved while trying to avoid modern day conveniences and temptation. It was challenging and rewarding! Stay tuned for updates!