Ages and ages ago Madhur Jaffrey did a series on TV about recipes from all different parts of India. I never forgot these programmes, they made such an impression on me – because she did them all on location in the places the recipes came from. It was enchanting and captivating and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. India!
One of the places she went to (I mean this is yonks ago so my memory of it has gone a bit fuzzy now) was some place in a desert. Maybe it could have been Rajasthan, would you think?? Anyway the people she visited to cook her local recipe lived very simply and owned very little. The camera took us inside a lady’s house, which was a very small home with hardly anything in it; but displayed on shelves were some brass cook-pots, and they shone. They were dazzlingly clean.
These ladies cooked over wood fires of course, and obviously they had no dishwashers or nylon scrubby things, so how were they getting them so clean?
I remembered this since the weather perked up and permitted outdoor cooking again at last. It was still just cold enough to make porridge seem attractive, so I cooked it over the Kelly Kettle fuelled with some junk mail and torn up packaging, while I boiled the water for nettle tea at the same time. Everything went fine, but I tell you no lie in saying porridge pans are a challenge to wash up at the best of times, and a healthy coating of carbon on the outside adds its own special bonus.
I left the pan to stand with some rainwater in it while I sat on the step and ate my porridge, having in the first place diligently scraped it out with my green silicon spoon which cunningly acts as a 5-star spatula then seamlessly surges on to become the only eating implement the world has ever seen that allows you to eat silently from stoneware.
The nettles are perfect for making tea with right now. I take the tops which makes them divide and thoughtfully grow more tops for more tea.
So having had my tea there was water still in the Kelly Kettle for washing up, and I raided my talented charming intelligent grandson’s sandpit as a cleaning aid. Just a little bit of sand scooped up on two fingers is all it took to clean the pan all bright and sparkly just like those ladies’ pots in Rajasthan (or wherever it was).
Inspired by this, I had another go with sand and washing. Hanging some clothes out I noticed (sorry chums, so way to put this delicately) that one of our hankies was still snotty in a clinging mucusy kind of way – urgh yuck. What to do? I got a bit of rainwater in the bucket and scooped up a bit of sand (the Wretched Wretch won’t have any left at this rate), dolloped it on the hanky and just scrubbed it around all over against itself and then rinsed it in the rainwater – ta da! All clean. Any clinging sand blew away in the breeze as it was drying and it was so soft and clean when it was done. Obviously cleaning clothes with sand would shorten their little lives just a tad, but a useful tip nonetheless don’t you think? And fab for metal pans. Less so I should imagine for enamel or high-glaze ceramic. We use baking soda for those.
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)
This large heavy pig made of painted mahogany was given us by a dear friend who knew we are always on the lookout for firewood. Thinking it might appeal to children and be useful to sit on, we kept it as a doorstop for a while, but it was heavy to move, had an uncanny ability to be in the wrong place every tine without fail – so the Badger went mad at it with an axe and it did indeed make the most excellent firewood.