Traverse City Record-Eagle

Edna Shaffer: Grandma's Kitchen

April 19, 2010

Grandma's Kitchen: Discovering stevia

April is the wonderful month of enchantment and contradictions. Mother Nature trots out her new spring wardrobe with beautiful warm colors to dazzle us after the long dark, drab winter. I saw my first daffodil in Bear Lake around April 1. What a brave little flower, arriving just in time to wear a crown of snow.

Our bright sunshine and blue skies have thawed our frozen spirits. They have also exposed our dirty windows and other projects waiting for spring, prompting a cleaning frenzy or guilt, whichever suits us at the time. We celebrate Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, and my birthday shortly after. Some days I think we share the same age!

There is so much we can do to respect and preserve our planet. We can teach our children and grandchildren reverence for our natural world. I know many of you do that every day. The example we set is stronger than any spoken word. Keep up the good work.

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The last month has flown by. We've had more fun experimenting. First it was homemade, natural laundry soap. We use it every day and like it even more as time goes on. I enjoyed the memories you shared of soap making when you were young. I especially enjoyed one reader's recollection of nearly causing her mother heart failure when she ate a bite of lye soap. The soap was sitting in a crock, waiting to set up so it could be cut into bars. She thought it was cake batter, sticking her fingers in for a taste. Just as her mother re-entered the room, she was caught licking her fingers. Her mom about keeled over thinking the lye would be fatal. The liquid soap we make has no lye in it and produces fresh, clean-smelling laundry for about 1 cent per load. It's a BIG money saver.

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