Making things is an obsession for me. When I see something, anything, I wonder, can I make that myself? After reading a few influential and inspirational books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and thanks to my friend Jan, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, I took this obsession to the kitchen.

When I was 10, my Dad told me that if I knew how to read, then I knew how to cook. I’ve been reading and cooking since. I’ve long been cooking from scratch. I find it easy and not as time consuming as one might think. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of label reading and wondering if my bread really needs 30 ingredients or if my strawberry jam really needs high-fructose corn syrup. I decided to find out just how many everyday food items I can make myself. My “Neo-19th Century” cooking has become a daily part of life. I use modern tools, but try to make everyday items only using ingredients that were available a century ago.


Kara Thurmond lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Andrew Amelinckx, and dogs, Boo and Bingo. In addition to her cooking obsession, she is also a graphic designer and artist. Her work is currently represented by Terenchin Fine Art. You may view her work at or at

Kara also has a weekly food column in two newspapers:
The Register Star, Hudson, NY

The Daily Mail, Catskill, NY

You may reach her at

An Hour in the Kitchen:
Neo-19th Century Cooking: Modern Tools, Old Fashioned Ingredients


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