There is something magical about items made from human hands. In this age of convenience and speed, a meal or a gift that is homemade is an antidote to a boring, prepackaged life. When something is homemade, there is time and attention put into it. That time and attention imbues it with greater value than it would have otherwise. Even the terminology of homemade evokes warm kitchens, and bubbling pots of soup, heartiness, love.
There is a great deal of that love in Mendocino County. My friends and neighbors harbor all manner of secret skills, like our county sheriff who presses and ferments fresh apples into a delicious hard cider (done as a hobby until retirement) as well as making a healthful apple cider vinegar that is a vibrant, tangy tonic that will brighten your day. Or the blackberry cordial one woman has passed down through the generations, as simple as plucking the backyard berries at the peak of ripeness and tossing them into a jar full of vodka. After a few months, she strains out the solids and has a concoction that her friends will give their left arm to acquire.
I admit that I find myself envious when I meet people who make their own …fill in the blank: cheese, cured meats, sourdough, membrillo. Those people are badass. And you, too, can be like them (ok, that quince paste—membrillo—thing is tricky, but the key to making your own is to take that time to figure out how to do something). Visit with friends, look on the internet, and give it a go. As the holiday season approaches, what better time to make something to share. We have filled the pages of this issue with stories of homemade goodness. Perhaps that means cooking in a foreign kitchen far from home, simmering up some winter squash soup, or creating one of our handmade treats. Or who knows, you could be on the receiving end of some homemade generosity. If so, lucky you!
Yours in gratitude,