The Farmer's Wife
Can Butter Build Kid's Character?
Jonathan embarrasses me *just a little* every time we walk into a grocery store.
With remarkable consistency, when we walk through the dairy section, he loudly announces that “this is the best section in the whole store!!!” Though I appreciate his dairy-advocacy, the random PSA for fellow shoppers makes me want to duck behind the next isle. Hilariously, our kids have now caught on to this dairy PSA tradition and will frequently announce the dairy section on their own when Dad is not around. Thankfully, embarrassment never killed anyone, so I just smile when my kids make their announcement.
You know what I like about the embarrassment though?
It forces me to think - for just a second - about HOW those products got to the shelves.
Since becoming a farmer’s wife in 2011, I am intimately aware of the work it took to get those products on the shelf.
Today, meat comes in packages, milk comes from a jug, produce comes from a department, and clothes come off a rack.
Modern convenience is terrific, but I want my kids (and myself!) to understand (and be THANKFUL!) for the work it took to get those things on the shelves.
I don’t want my kids to take convenience for granted.
Thanklessness is easy if we don’t acknowledge where things came from.
If we allow thanklessness, it’s easy to feel like convenience is our right.
Take butter for example.
In America, it is my “right” to purchase butter in perfect, clean, crisp, refrigerated sticks. This is normal. This is expected. It would be absurd to think otherwise in the majority of America.
But what if we could slow the 2 second trip from the shelf to the cart?
What if we could teach our kids to stop feeling so entitled to convenience?
How many of us think of what had to happen PRIOR to the trip from the shelf to the cart?
How many people think about the multi-generational sweat and tears that went into the farming of cream for that butter? Do your kids realize that a tractor had to be made and purchased and driven to smooth the field for the seed that had to be purchased, planted, watered, and harvested in order to feed the cows who had to be cared for and milked morning and night for 365 days a year?
Convenience doesn’t see the farmer finishing morning milking in time for the milk hauler to pump the fresh milk from the tank and haul it to the co-op.
Convenience doesn’t see the hard work and relational strain of long days that a farmers live.
Convenience doesn't see the cream separating and the churning and the salting and the forming and the refrigerating in the 2 seconds it takes to put the butter in the cart.
So why can’t convenience pause? ... (Because it’s inconvenient!)
Convenience doesn’t stop to wonder.
But I want more.
I love convenience. But I don’t want to lose reality.
My 2nd grade daughter is studying pioneer life in school right now.
Talk about inconvenience! Not long ago, prepping breakfast looked entirely different than it does today. Breakfast didn’t come from a box for our great grandparents. I want my kids to appreciate what it took to get where we are today.
I want them to realize that convenience is not a right.
I want them to be grateful.
How can we do that?
By making butter of course!!
Is this convenient? Nope.
But convenience doesn’t build character.
Inconvenience gives the chance for gratefulness.
(Believe me... I *literally* called my husband while us girls were shaking our cream jars because my arms were sore and I thought it was N-E-V-E-R going to work. Don't tell my kids... but I felt like quitting my own gratefulness experiment. I ***Almost*** gave up and used the Kitchen Aid. :-P)
Building gratefulness isn't complicated, but it does take time.
Here’s what we did
Spooned the cream off of two gallons of fresh milk that sat in my fridge for a while to separate. (obviously my kids understand where milk comes from… if your kids haven’t experienced that, give us a call… we can help :)
Put on some music (easier to shake when you're dancing :)
Put the cream into a container
Shake, Shake, Shake! Until butter forms. (Good luck!... use a small jar... it gets heavy!)
Strain the butter
Put butter in a bowl and knead/rinse butter in cold water until the water runs clear
Add salt (or flavoring!)
Enjoy on pancakes or fresh bread!
Be grateful we can also get butter from the grocery store... or use the Kitchen Aid if we want to make it regularly :)
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Ready for some fresh milk?? Yes Please!