The saying “Love what you have, and you will have what you love” is a simple way to describe the concept of farmhouse living. The farmhouse lifestyle is one that encourages simplicity, resourcefulness, mindfulness and gratitude. When you live the farmhouse lifestyle, you appreciate and treasure what you have, make use of that which is abundant and welcome friends and relations to partake of your good fortune with you. In this article, we discuss the farmhouse lifestyle and provide resources and tips focusing on mastering old fashioned farm cooking. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- What Is Farmhouse Cooking?
- Hallmarks Of Traditional English Farmhouse Cooking
- How Is Farmhouse Cooking Different From Other Types?
- How Do You Make A Farmhouse Kitchen?
- 1. Establish quick easy access to everything you need
- 2. Install an old-fashioned cook stove
- 3. Add warmth with traditional flooring
- 4. Add vintage decor
- 5. An open hearth says farmhouse
- 6. Don’t skimp on the kitchen table
- 7. Apron front sinks are practical and good-looking
- 8. Make use of traditional kitchen furniture
What Is Farmhouse Cooking?
This style of cooking is often based in traditional English country cooking. It is intended to produce hearty, tasty meals that are simple and easy and plentiful.
It is a style of cooking that is present in many cultures, and it harkens to a simpler time when people lived closer to nature, planned their meals around the seasons and used the foods that were abundant at the time.
If you are fortunate enough to have inherited some vintage cookbooks, you may have some good examples of farmhouse cooking at your fingertips.
There are four vintage cookbooks of note that do a good job of presenting traditional English farmhouse cooking. They are:
1. Joan Parry Dutton’s The Good Fare And Cheer of Old England
This book features recipes and foods that were available in England between World War I and World War II. The book offers charming illustrations and is a valuable addition to any serious cook’s collection.
English farmhouse cooking includes hearty tea menus and classics such as Yorkshire pudding and Welsh rarebit. Additionally, a traditional English farmhouse cook would know how to make homemade cheese, cider and ale, as well as knowing how to prepare a wide variety of wild game.
This book also gives good advice on planting and maintaining a traditional English farmhouse kitchen garden featuring a wide variety of root vegetables, greens and cruciferous veggies.
2. Edna Lewis’ The Taste Of Country Cooking
This book focuses on life on the farm during the 1930s in the United States, but the style of cookery is very much English farmhouse cooking.
Edna Lewis was an African-American woman whose grandfather had actually been a slave. It is interesting that the cookery with which she was most familiar and which fills this book has a definite English leaning.
This is an excellent book to turn to for traditional English boiled dinner recipes, as well as hearty, simple desserts such as puddings, fruit cakes, pound cakes and the like.
Some recipes do have a definite American farmhouse appeal. Among them are cornbread and some fruit recipes that simply would not be possible in the English countryside due to lack of availability of certain fruits.
One aspect of this book that very much reflects farmhouse cooking is the fact that it is presented in a way that follows the agricultural calendar. Recipes are grouped in a seasonal manner making it easy to plan quick, hearty meals that are appropriate to the time of year.
3. Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills Of Cooking
This is a more modern cookbook, written in the twenty-first century. The recipes presented have more of an Irish farmhouse flavor than English. This large, thick book contains 700 recipes and many very lovely illustrations.
Among the recipes are instructions on how to perform old-fashioned skills such as rendering beef fat and making good use of suet in the kitchen. This sort of skill is especially useful when creating a unique farmhouse soup.
Additionally, suggestions for making the most of foodstuffs that most modern cooks consider to be byproducts lend to the traditional farmhouse theme. For example, the idea of enjoying toast with beef drippings is presented.
This book may especially appeal to people who are homesteading. Instructions, information and anecdotes regarding keeping common farm livestock such as chickens, cows and pigs are included.
Traditional Irish farmhouse recipes such as brown soda bread and homemade jam and chutney add to the authenticity.
4. Barbara Swell’s Farmhouse Cooking: Rural American Recipes And Farm Lore
This is a delightful modern read which provides a wealth of authentic American farmhouse recipes from the late 19th century through the mid-20th century.
The interesting stories and anecdotes provide a glimpse into farmhouse living in the days when it was the rule, not the exception. This slim volume is a must have for the serious aspiring farmhouse cook.
Hallmarks Of Traditional English Farmhouse Cooking
The types of dishes and the ingredients used are specifically found in English farmhouse cooking, as are the cooking methods.
For example, the English tend to bake or boil a high number of foods. This is why the English diet is heavy on baked goods and stews, such as boiled dinners. A boiled dinner may be made around all sorts of meat ranging from wild game to farm raised pork or beef.
English cooking relies heavily on animal fats such as butter, lard and suet. Rich sauces and gravies are the norm.
The English also tend to have a sweet tooth, and sugary sauces and sweet baked goods are common.
English farmhouse cooking also relies heavily on products such as farm fresh eggs, milk, cream, fresh juices and the like.
The traditions of English farmhouse cooking can be found in a wide variety of other types of farmhouse cooking. English recipes migrated to Ireland and made their way across the ocean to the New World.
Many traditional deep South American recipes find their roots in English farmhouse cooking.
How Is Farmhouse Cooking Different From Other Types?
1. Farmhouse cooking is local
Farmhouse cooking draws on local resources. To be an authentic farmhouse cook, you should be able to find all of the ingredients you need in your local wilderness, fields, hedgerows, orchards, your kitchen garden and your own pantry. There are no exotic ingredients in authentic farmhouse cooking.
2. Farmhouse cooking is seasonal
The farmhouse cook watches the agricultural calendar and uses resources as they are available. This means that, for example, in the springtime when hens are laying lots of eggs, farmhouse meals will contain lots of eggs.
At the end of the harvest season, the time for canning and making preserves arrives. Through the winter, meals will rely heavily on these canned and preserved foods.
In the springtime and summer, meals will feature the abundance of fresh produce.
3. Farmhouse cooking is for friends and family
You will not find recipes for entertaining in an authentic farmhouse cookbook. Farmhouse meals are intended to be abundant and flavorful. The style of cooking is meant to feed your family well and have plenty on hand to set a few extra places when friends show up.
Typical farmhouse recipes are the sort you would share at a picnic or other informal gathering. Think, macaroni salad, hearty homemade soup and simple home baked bread.
4. Farmhouse meal schedules revolve around farm schedules
Traditional farmhouse menus involve large breakfasts, a main meal at noon and evening “tea”.
How Do You Make A Farmhouse Kitchen?
A traditional farmhouse style kitchen is based on the idea of a rural kitchen in a community-oriented town. In the United States, we think of these as being traditional southern kitchens that are homey, warm, spacious and tend to be the heart of the house.
The ideal farmhouse kitchen is large enough to allow the family to work and live in the kitchen, gathered around the table for meals, conversations and games.
Here are the elements you should seek to incorporate as you create your own authentic farmhouse kitchen.
1. Establish quick easy access to everything you need
Get rid of your cabinet doors and make good use of open shelving. This is a practical and attractive way to keep everything you need at your fingertips.
2. Install an old-fashioned cook stove
Modern cook tops and ovens are sleek and streamlined. An old-fashioned range with rounded corners and lots of chrome brings a lot of visual warmth to your kitchen. Look for a genuine vintage range, or look into modern models that bring you the convenience of the new with the charm of the old.
3. Add warmth with traditional flooring
You can’t go wrong with a natural or painted wood floor, but charming options such as checkered linoleum or black and white tile can also add an authentic, homey touch.
4. Add vintage decor
As you fill your open shelving, look for dishes, cookware and even canned goods that will evoke an earlier and simpler time. Add some nostalgia with genuine vintage pottery, pitchers, tin signs and other charming reminders of days of your.
5. An open hearth says farmhouse
If you’re able to have a real fireplace in your farmhouse kitchen, you’ll add a great deal of authenticity and coziness. If you can’t have a genuine fireplace, add a bit of brickwork and install an authentic looking electric fireplace.
6. Don’t skimp on the kitchen table
The kitchen table is the center of an authentic farmhouse kitchen. You want a table that is big enough and sturdy enough for some serious work (e.g. kneading bread dough, rolling out pie crusts, chopping up veggies and cutting up fryers.)
You also want your table to be big enough and have plenty of comfortable chairs for your friends and family to gather round.
7. Apron front sinks are practical and good-looking
The looks of an apron front sink just shout “farmhouse”. Additionally, the deep, practical construction of an apron front sink makes it easy to carry out all of the cooking tasks necessary to produce genuine, authentic farmhouse meals.
There are lots of modern iterations of the farmhouse sink, or you can be absolutely authentic and source yours from a salvage yard, flea market or other purveyor of secondhand goods.
8. Make use of traditional kitchen furniture
In addition to your open shelving, you will also need some standalone furnishings such as a china hutch, a pie safe or a sideboard. If you source an eclectic collection of genuine vintage pieces, you can draw the look together by painting everything to match.