• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."
    Cicero

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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Box of books: "Eating Outdoors"

My parents, who believe that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach, helped us celebrate our anniversary earlier this month by sending along a box of new cookbooks. Nothing is more fun than getting a box of books from Amazon or Chapters than getting a box of books you didn’t order yourself. Inside the box were three enormous volumes, and one slim one (though considering the size of the three others, slim is a relative term). I’ll post a recipe or two from each over the next while, focusing on summery ones.

First up is Eating Outdoors: Cooking and Entertaining in the Open Air by Lindy Wildsmith. Wildsmith is an English food writer and cook, and her book is lovely — most of the recipes are double-page spreads, with a color photograph (by Martin Brigdale) on one side and a fairly simple recipe on the other. The recipes are divided into four chapters, “Barbecues”, “Families Outdoors”, “Picnics” (more of the elegant English style than the slapdash North American kind), “Elegant al fresco”, and “Drinks”.

Here’s Wildsmith’s recipe for Catalan Salad, “a refreshing change from the more usual Salade Nicoise”, from the “Families Outdoors” chapter:

Catalan Salad with tuna and aioli (serves 4)

3-1/2 oz. thin green beans (haricot verts)
2 heads baby romaine lettuces
3-1/2 oz. thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto
4 hard-cooked eggs, halved lengthwise (the photo shows the yolks still moist and not too hard-cooked, er, boiled)
6-1/2 oz. good-quality canned tuna, drained and broken into large chunks; for a variation, you can use chicken breasts
8 large pitted green olives, halved
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Aioli
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 egg yolk [raw; this doesn’t seem to be the concern here it is for most North American cookbook writers and publishers; if you have doubts about the freshness of your eggs and the safety of eating raw eggs, cook the egg in its shell in gently simmering water for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes first]
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

To make the aioli, put the garlic cloves in a mortar and bash them lightly with a pestle, pulling away the skin as it frees itself [you could use peeled cloves and just run them through a garlic press]. Add the salt and grind the garlic to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large, wide bowl, add the lemon juice and the egg yolk and whisk with a metal whisk. Continue whisking as you add the olive oil a few drops at a time; as the aioli starts to thicken, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. This should take about 5 minutes. If you prefer a lighter mayonnaise, whisk in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill until required.

Cook the beans in salted water for 3-4 minutes until al dente, then drain and plunge into ice water. Drain and dry. Cover a large platter with lettuce leaves, then fan the beans around the rim of the platter, sticking out from under the edge of the lettuce leaves. Twist the slices of serrano ham and arrange them on the lettuce leaves, then arrange the eggs, tuna, and olive halves on top. Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the salad, then add salt and pepper. Serve with the aioli in a separate bowl.

Bon appetit, and merci beaucoup!

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