Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What We Take for Granted (My Plan to Make Acorn Flour)

I will never look at flour the same way again.  

It's because I'm actually going to gather acorns, extract the nuts, leach them, grind them, and make acorn flour.  A woman from across the country emailed me to tell me about making acorn flour, and I can't get the process out of my mind.

Who has time for this?  Who in her right mind would spend a Tuesday afternoon cracking acorns and boiling off the tannins to make a loaf of bread, some muffins, or even pancakes?  I can buy flour at the grocery store, remember?

But I'm drawn to this work.  It's an ancient work.   
  
I talk to my daughters about the Native Americans surviving a whole year on acorn flour.  I learn that acorns, according to the email, are a "superfood, having an ideal mix of protein, carbs, and fat."  Right under my oak tree, sustenance--daily bread--rests scattered and trampled upon.  What I see as inconvenient and messy, others see as nourishment.  What I take for granted--flour, bread, food--others had to work all day to produce. 

I want to remember this.

There's something special about being connected to the land, to the trees, and to the lost art of gathering food and baking meals right from the earth's offerings.  There's something sacred about not taking food for granted. 

My children cannot wait to begin this process.  The oldest runs out into the cold night air to gather acorns, and I restrain the youngest from following after her.  "Wait till daylight at least!" I call out.   "We'll make our flour tomorrow!"

Some might think we're about to waste an entire afternoon, but something tells me it's exactly what I should be doing.  I'll report back (with pictures!) about our efforts.

Living with flair means connecting to the ancient work of finding food and not taking it for granted.  

_______________________
Journal:  Have you ever made something from scratch that reminded you not to take our food for granted?

6 comments:

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

I grew up not knowing decorated cakes could come from bakeries - even though I had an uncle who was a baker. My mom used cake mix if it was good enough else she made it from scratch. She not only decorated cakes but would PAINT them if needed (like the rainbow trout cake on a cardboard lake). Both my sisters are craftswomen; my brother and his children replaced the roof on their house; one child now says he will NOT be a roofer. Hands on work and crafts are wonderful; I am starting to learn to knit and crotchet from a friend of mine. Enjoy your flour & memory making!

Mike and Katie said...

We tried it this year! I learned about the tannins last year from your blog about gathering the acorns for the squirrels. Certain kinds of acorns peel easier than others and we found that the ones that had just sat out to dry for a couple of weeks peeled easier and cleaner. But I'm sure it will be hard for your girls to wait that long to try.

Here's the post I did about it. http://mikeandkatie1.blogspot.com/2011/10/ethnic-foods.html

Katie

Juliana Falkenstein said...

I can't wait to hear more about this!

Juliana said...

I can't wait to hear more about this!

PepeB said...

I first heard about acorn flour in a museum in Berlin, where the history of Native American people was told. I always wondered how the flour was made, it seemed, as you describe it, a lot of work. So I'm looking forward to your descrtiption and fotos of your "production".

Alex Beecroft said...

You can also make a coffee-substitute out of them. Just roast them in the oven for a while, then grind and use as you would use coffee. That takes advantage of their bitterness and is much less work than the flour. (Though doing both is good too :) )