Elaine's Profile

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The summer kitchen...it all begins with a story…
My grandparents were dairy farmers with a big old farmhouse & barn in the midst of a fertile valley in Bedford County, PA. Their farmland ran adjacent to the Juniata River in one spot and seemed to stretch on forever when I was little. It was a rural sanctuary that created a setting for great childhood memories to be born. There was swimming in the river, milking the cows, playing in the corn crib but it was the summer kitchen that drew us grandkids’ attention. There was no air conditioning so a summer kitchen was an added separate building to help remove heat from the main house during hot weather. My grandparents’ had theirs right across from the back porch and main kitchen. Preserved food lined the kitchen’s work spaces in summer as the garden goodness was picked and “put up” in jars for the coming year. I devoured my grandma’s dill pickles by the quart as a child. I hav…

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  • Female
  • Born on January 29
  • Joined March 2, 2010

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About

The summer kitchen...it all begins with a story…
My grandparents were dairy farmers with a big old farmhouse & barn in the midst of a fertile valley in Bedford County, PA. Their farmland ran adjacent to the Juniata River in one spot and seemed to stretch on forever when I was little. It was a rural sanctuary that created a setting for great childhood memories to be born. There was swimming in the river, milking the cows, playing in the corn crib but it was the summer kitchen that drew us grandkids’ attention. There was no air conditioning so a summer kitchen was an added separate building to help remove heat from the main house during hot weather. My grandparents’ had theirs right across from the back porch and main kitchen. Preserved food lined the kitchen’s work spaces in summer as the garden goodness was picked and “put up” in jars for the coming year. I devoured my grandma’s dill pickles by the quart as a child. I have continued to love this home industry and preserve our abundant garden’s goodness extensively during the spring and summer months. There is such satisfaction when taking a vibrant, nourishing vegetable or fruit and preserving that goodness in a jar for the months to follow. The rustic flair of the kitchen was my sister’s joy. For her, it breathed a beauty through its simplicity. Wooden table in the middle, curtains blowing in the breeze, the smell of baking going on for that night’s dinner, for her, the kitchen was an expression of comfort. My sister’s love of rustic transferred to her daily life including the use of homemade soap… and so starts our soap story.
After always buying and loving the way this natural made soap made our skin feel, we decided we would try to make our own. That was over 11 years ago and along the way we have used not only in our own bath but have given away as gifts to many of our friends. The response has always been the same. All have loved the soap. Our first batch was Oatmeal, Milk & Honey which remains our favorite to this day; we believe it is because its toasty fragrance beckons us to remember the summer kitchen’s comfort.
We make our soap using the cold process method. Oils are melted to a certain temperature but are not cooked. Sodium hydroxide, a strong alkali, is added to the oils and the magic begins with the chemical reaction that takes place between the two. The mild soap, with its natural made glycerin, is the end result. The main oils used are coconut, palm and olive but other soap "recipes" can include cocoa & Shea butters, palm kernel, almond, sunflower, canola and many other oils. Fragrances along with silk fibers, milk, oatmeal, lavender buds, seeds, etc. can also be part of the recipe.
We feel Homemade Soap is an affordable luxury that all should try; enjoy the benefits it can offer.

Elaine

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