Oryoki's House

Where's the Mojitos? I have the guac!

Oryoki Bowl

Oryoki Bowl
February 03
Quaker buddhist, kinda quirky, loves cooking and knitting and movies. Dr Who fan, Scandinavian-aquarian and cat lover. Would love to be paid to travel around the world and write about local healing cultures. While eating and drinking and dancing. One day I will have a health cruise in the fjords.


SEPTEMBER 29, 2013 2:17PM

Of Prairie Muffins and Suburban Tacos: My Fermented Summer

Rate: 5 Flag

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of Phoenix.  Or the kitchen.  

During a little roustabout chat, Another Steve S  made a sly reference that I was not familiar with.  He referred to another member of the chat as a "prairie muffin" and this led to my unfortunate use of Google Search.  I did not grow up in the midwest or plains, and my limited knowledge of cow shit vernacular did not include prairie muffin.  

Instead, in my search, I stumbled upon  The Prairie Muffin Manifesto.  Do your best to get through reading this with an open mind, and leave your critical thinking skills cap off.  It is a little long, and a lot defensive.  It turns out that I can't call someone a Prairie Muffin without praising or insulting them.

fruit nut pie 

Macadamia Coconut Raspberry Creme Pie, date/nut crust, raw, vegan 

A few years ago, I read a really fun book called The Wilder Life.  I used to totally love the Little House on the Prairie books as a girl.  I was and still am an avid reader, and the stories were inspiring to me.  I loved watching the show too, as I was more of a Laura than a Mary, and Almanzo was pretty hunky.  When I lived in Denmark, Swedish TV had the show on every day with subtitles, and I think I rewatched the entire series in my time over there. A bit of home, a bit of nostalgia, and the idea of wide open prairies to run through (it helped that almost all outdoor scenes were sunny).  Actually, it is not too different from Southern Sweden, which explains in part why so many Nords ended up in Minnesota and the Dakotas.  I now have extended family there, as my sweetie was born in Fargo, and his brother lives in Sioux Falls.  Me?  I was born in Manhattan, and grew up in its suburbs.  I have driven across the plains a few times, and even did go to college in Ohio which seemed very rural to me at the time.  I am a mountain girl, the plains make me nervous.  Even now, in Phoenix, I live in view of both Camelback and Squaw Peak, finding comfort in a peek of a mountain every time I look out the window.  


Sauerkraut on left, Pickled Veg on the right 

Anyhow, I apparently have a homesteading gene in me that either came down through my colonial ancestry or my mother's scandinavianess.  She did all those things when I was growing up- gardening, sewing, cooking, canning, baking- and I do them to the best of my ability today.  This sense of homecrafting was refined in the many summers spent in the Green Mountains of small town Vermont.  I find comfort in having the skills to make bread and pasta by hand (though I no longer do) and churn my own butter.  Instead of spending hours with a bucket and a wooden dowel, though, I spend about 1 minute with my mini food processor.  It is the tastiest butter there is (outside of danish butter).  This summer I have learned much in the arts of home fermentation- having made my own sauerkraut (mostly yum, learned some of the flavors that don't work) and pickles.  Many of my recipes have come from beautifully crafted websites that are probably written and photographed by... Prairie Muffins.  

fresh butter 

Fresh butter, organic 

There is the part of me that is totally modern.  Like that each week I brew new batches of home fermented kombucha, and then flavor and rebottle for a second fermentation.  My flavors are made with organic herbal tea, with an eye on healing properties as well as taste.  I bake my own crackers but use almond flour and chia seeds.  I have gotten into making (mostly) raw vegan desserts with all fruits and nuts and seeds.  My forays into vegan nut cheese were not as satisfying as I hoped for, but I do find that homemade almond milk is so much tastier and probably worth the effort.  

kombucha infusing

Kombucha growing and Kombucha Infusing 

I am not married, I have no children, and I don't submit to god or my partner.  He is an atheist and not interested in running my life.  We lean a little libertarian, a lot socialist, and green.  My buddhism keeps me busy focusing on reality, in the moment, no longer creating imaginary kingdoms.  We will dress up for Halloween and go out to a party, MIDWEEK.  And in the morning, I will pour myself a cup of something herbal and eat something I made from simple ingredients.  I may put on a sweater I knitted myself, and don jewelry crafted by my own hand.  I will then photograph it with my iPhone and post it on my Macbook Air.  Oh, what would my colonial ancestresses think of me now?  

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When I was young, "prairie muffins" was nothing more than an expression for cow pies. I was as surprised as anyone to see this newer meaning. Slang evolves a lot within one lifetime, I guess.
I am half Norwegian and my sister still makes my grandmother's Yule kaka at Christmas. She and I are the only ones who eat it, so that tradition will soon vanish. R
Sounds like you have your act seriously together, always a very good thing. I used to can, still garden, but I really miss canning.
Steve, I think the beauty of this is that its other meaning totally took you by surprise.

Gerald- well, just say "you'll caca" outloud and others will probably just come running to try that delicious Christmas Cake.

LL2- not sure if it is seriously together, but I am getting much better and it. Apparently I have a skill with SCOBY wrangling.
Tasty, informative piece.
The last paragraph made me smile, at least you are fully aware of the entire situation.
BTW, Seriously, I did not call another person a prairie muffin, I used that expression to describe prime time TV shows.
Sorry but "prairie muffins" are not cow pies. Cow droppings are cow pies. Prairie muffins are horse droppings. If you've ever seen both cow dropping and horse droppings the names are self explanatory.

How odd; you named everything that is in that pie except the strawberries!

Horse droppings are also known as road apples.
In that the strawberries were on the pie, it seemed self evident. Still, I guess that is odd. Now, let's get some Rocky Mountain Oysters on the bbq! (aka Cowboy Caviar or Prairie Oysters)
Oh gosh...... now I'm wondering what your definition of Prairie Oysters is.......