27 January 2012

Discovering Hobbies

I never really bothered with hobbies. Figured I didn't have the time for them. I have always loved history and geography, but those aren't hobbies. And I am a voracious reader. Sweetheart keeps threatening to reduce my Kindle budget, because I go through a few books a week. Guess I'm going to need to rediscover the library. But I never really had hobbies. Or so I thought. Recently, I was surprised to realize that I've developed hobbies - mostly since my first child was born. Some rather surprising hobbies for a big ol' Texas redneck.

For some background, a couple of years ago, cancer - and a host of related health problems - caused me to reevaluate my lifestyle. Part of what I realized, was that my family ate alot of junk. Sweetheart and I LOVE to dine out, and we've passed that on to the kids. Let us get in the car, and Princess immediately asks if we can go to a restaurant. And at home, we ate alot of processed food out of packages. And I wasn't raised that way. My Mama was a good cook. I have alot of fat I'm still trying to get rid of to prove it. I was raised on meat and potatoes from our own back yard. Mama had the obligatory Hamburger Helper box in the pantry, but I don't remember it ever being cooked. And yet, I was feeding my family nothing that didn't come out of a box.

About the time I realized this, I also began researching the Prepper lifestyle. Do any kind of search regarding preparing for disasters, and one of the first things you'll find will be wheat, wheat and more wheat.It's versatile, stores forever, etc. I started finding this and thought, um, seriously? Wheat?? But I try to be a good example for my kids and part of that means not jumping to conclusions. So I decided to see exactly what could be done with wheat - because I'm not going to buy anything I don't use on a daily basis. To make a long story short (enjoy...I don't do that often) I now own a grain mill and alot of hard white winter wheat. And I'm not allowed to buy bread, tortillas, biscuits or any other kind of baked goods, except donuts. I haven't tried to make those yet. Even pizza. I'm warning you guys, you let your wife watch you make a pizza for her from flour on up and you might as well erase Domino's from your speed dial.

So now I'm a hobby baker. Well, maybe more than a hobby, since I literally grind the wheat and make my family's daily bread, but it's sure not work. It's too relaxing for work. I get a kick out of experimenting with new recipes. Especially since the love of my life bought me a Kitchenaid stand mixer for my birthday last year. Just like Granny's, only more powerful. I can whip up danged near anything now. And when I screw up completely, it's easy to clean.

I especially like to get the kids involved. Princess is my baker's assistant. In the morning, she gets her step stool and helps me cut out biscuits, making sure to remind me to form a "bone" for Furball. We've created holiday traditions around it, as well. Daddy makes all birthday cakes. Oh yeah, guys - let your honey watch you go through the very involved process of making her very favorite red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, when she knows the only box involved held the cream cheese, and you might just get to understand one of the reasons this ol' boy likes to bake.

Maybe as my son grows, I'll be able to develop more stereotypically  "manly" hobbies. Like blowing up model rockets or maybe even building houses...who knows. But then again, having a hobby which lets me engage my child and puts a smile on her face is actually pretty manly, I believe.