Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Vintage Remedies

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  I Corinthians 13:11

No disrespect to the Apostle Paul, but here is my version--

When I was a child, I ate like a child.  I wanted soft white bread and fizzy drinks.  I believed that all food came wrapped in plastic or boxed or canned.  I used pine scented aerosols and cleaning products that sent me running from the bathroom choking on the fumes.  I believed that the only way to get better was to ask the doctor for an antibiotic.  Now I am a woman with a child of my own.  I have seen that foods made of chemicals and preservatives have left our nation overweight and yet still undernourished.  I have seen children suffering from asthma and chemical sensitivity.  I hear stories on the news about organisms that have grown resistant to our best treatments.

Of course I want better for my Schnickelfritz.  I could just force changes on him and say "I'm the mom, I know what's best,"  or I could help him try to understand why I'm making the choices I do.  Enter a new Homeschool Crew review product designed to help me do just that: Vintage Remedies for Guys.

 This book, geared towards 7-13 year old boys is broken into three sections: Food, Nutrition and Culinary Skills; Health and Body, and Natural Living.   Chapter Headings include:

  • Real Food
  • Healthy Drinks
  • Growing Your Food
  • Healthy and Clean Bodies
  • Immunity and Prevention
  • Backyard Medicine
  • Aromatic Oils
  • Cleaner Cleaning
  • Reducing and Reusing
  • A Natural Home
The Appendices have quizzes,  tips for making this a homeschool or co-op curriculum,  and information about further learning opportunities from Vintage Remedies.

The book is written to the boy but an adult will want to stand by to elaborate on certain topics and help with the hands on projects.  Schnickelfritz is not quite ready for facial wash or homemade deodorant, so we stuck with the kitchen recipes-specifically yogurt, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese.

Technically, I don't know if what we made can actually be called yogurt or cheese because we're not using yogurt culture or rennet for the cheese.  Both the cream cheese and the yogurt recipes call for cultured buttermilk.  I asked the book's author, Jessie Hawkins, about her ingredient choices.  Her reply was that she was trying to use ingredients easily available for the average parent. 

Here is Fritz pouring our fresh, raw milk into a pot.  I didn't have one big enough to heat one gallon (nor was I willing to use up our precious supply) so I cut the recipe in half--the opportunity to practice dividing fractions.

We're adding raw apple cider vinegar.  I realize that not everyone is going to have access to non-homogenized milk or raw ACV.   The parent/teacher guide for each chapter gives you a list of ingredients and tools needed so you can determine what you can and can't do.

Our curds are forming.  Now the hardest part, waiting patiently for three hours.

Well, the recipe worked but I must say I'm disappointed by the quantity.  A half gallon of milk yielded about 2/3 cup of ricotta cheese--no wonder it's so expensive at the store.  Our cream cheese experiment didn't work very well either but I think the problem was user error.  At the time I didn't have cheesecloth (note to self: always check the parent guide and make sure supplies are on hand) so I used my yogurt strainers.  I think the mesh was too fine to allow the liquid to drain so I never got a thick cream cheese.  What I did have was perfect to substitute for sour cream in my Thanksgiving recipes.

Schnickelfritz was certainly more interested in doing the projects than reading the associated lessons, but he was certainly able to read the text (I was concerned about the font which resembles handwriting).  If you chose to use this for schooling,  the quizzes in the back would make great short essay questions to test comprehension.

Our book is for guys, there is also a Vintage Recipes for Girls.  My understanding is the main differences deal with hygiene.  There is also a kids book for younger children (ages 2-6).  Vintage Remedies for Boys retails for $45.  If you hurry to the Vintage Remedies website you can purchase the Boys and Girls material in a single volume called Vintage Remedies for Tweens for only $29.95.

You can see what other Homeschool Crew members think of Vintage Remedies by clicking here.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Vintage Remedies for Guys for the purpose of completing this review.  There was no other compensation for my honest opinion.

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