A couple of months ago, I was talking to my mom on the phone. She asked what I was doing, and I told her that I was trying out Great Grandma Tadehara’s legendary homemade bread, in between hand-sewing a dress. This dress, as a matter of fact.

With Mr. Awesome at his beautiful sister’s wedding!

Mom chuckled and said I was awfully quaint for a twenty-something in 2012. While that may be true, I find so much value in homemade things, culinary and otherwise.

My mom was an organic, composting, recycling, cloth-diaper-using mother long before it was fashionable in the eco-trends of today. My dad was a carpenter, and he and my mom designed and built the house I grew up in…personally. As in, actually did the work, not just stopped by a construction HQ and picked out floor plans from a variety of pre-determined models. One of the first gift-giving lessons I remember hearing from them was that a gift made by me, no matter how clumsy or inelegant, would be worth more to them than any storebought item. That’s a mentality I’ve carried with me for years.

My favorite quilts are the one hand-sewn by my great-grandmother using scraps from suits and denim jeans, and the one pieced together by my grandmother right before she lost her vision. My favorite meals are made completely from scratch (just ask me about my lasagna someday). My favorite jewelry is hand-crafted by myself or people I love. My favorite notecards were created by my sister and my friend Kim. My favorite mug was handmade by a craftsman here in Salt Lake City, who coincidentally operates an excellent meatball sub & Philly shop. Most of my favorite cooking tools were handmade, too. My favorite bread? It’s Great-Grandma’s recipe. The best yogurt I’ve ever had is homemade. The most delicious pickles, too. In fact, virtually every single food item it’s possible to purchase in a store is much, much tastier when it’s made from scratch at home.

Maybe it is quaint, and maybe there’s an antiquated, unstylish sense that homemade must necessarily be less beautiful, less perfect, less luxurious. As I look around and see so much disposability, so much temporality and so much stuff, I can’t help but disagree. With more soul invested into the creation of an individual object, it increases in value to me and encourages me not to clutter my life with too much excess. It reminds me that everything I truly value is such either because someone created it with me in mind, or because it is imbued with the memories of loved ones. And it reminds me when I am giving a gift to someone that an object is only worth what I put into it.

So here’s to the quilts our grandmothers made us, the recipes our great-grandmothers passed down to us, and the lessons that our mothers taught us when we were young.

Love, peace, and quaintness,

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Melisa

     /  July 20, 2012

    Beautiful dress! Very well done, I am so very impressed!


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