Finding My Own River Cottage

Posted by in Current Projects

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This is the most difficult thing I have cooked so far. Black Forest Cake.

Black forest cake recipe

About 2 years ago I read Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Chef. It was a book about learning disguised as a cookbook. In his book he stated that “digital depression” and I filed that idea in the back of my head. Once I completed reading the book I started to make the recipes. The great part is that I began to learn the basics of cooking and became more comfortable around the kitchen.  All the while that idea was germinating in my head.

One of Tim’s resources for the book was a British TV show called Escape to River Cottage where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall left London to live in a small house with land while acquiring his food through growing it, foraging it, raising it, and hunting it. In addition, he was trained as a chef so there was an aspect of the show where he also prepared the food.

I was lucky since this series was available on YouTube and I watched about 10 seasons of this show and I loved every bit of it. Though, the show being on YouTube  was infringing on copyrights so it was pulled down. If you want to check it out you can purchase it on Amazon Instant Video and if you want to get the DVDs you have to have a DVD player that can play the European format.

By the way, here are some resources for learning how to cool

  1. The Four Hour Chef (this is an awesome primer for the starter cook)
  2. Epic Meal Time (these guys remove the pretentiousness around cooking making it easier for us to move past our self consciousness serving food to others)
  3. River Cottage (sometimes you can find episodes of the TV show someone has posted online, there is a series based in England and one in Australia)
  4. Jamie Oliver
  5. Alton Brown

Just find a meal that looks good and easy and go make it even just for yourself.

During the months of watching the show I got more and more intrigued with the lifestyle. I was also purchasing many books and magazines to learn more of these skills  such as cooking, raising livestock, tracking, foraging for food, etcetera. I was (am) also daydreaming about buying a small farm to build my own river cottage but that will be in the future when I am sure I want to live this lifestyle.

Really what this comes down to is reconnecting with the physical world and using my hands. I am pretty good at producing stuff on the computer, coming up with ideas, and exchanging ideas with others. This is all ephemeral in my mind. Once I am done talking or I close the computer what I built is no longer visible and easily forgettable.

Now if I was to build a deck it will be visible to me and others around me all the time. In addition, in building it there was a lot of energy, sweat, and emotion that went into building it. I believe that we are both physical and mental beings and we need to have connection with both sided to be fulfilled. Spiritual too but I am not going to tackle that subject here. I feel we get more satisfaction by creating a pile of rocks which you and everyone else can see and tires you out is more satisfying than pushing buttons a bunch of times and making them appear and disappear on a glowing screen.

So now one of my current projects is connecting with the real world and learning some new skills to interact with it. Specifically, I am learning how to cook and weld as my specific goals at this time.