|That little enamel jar with a lid has holes in it, but someone|
had put a sticky bandage on it. I thought that was so sweet.
It is the kind of soap that I like to think my paternal grandmother would and could have made. The ingredients would have been readily available to her even if they lived on an isolated farm in the north. I like the thought that she made soap. They had to be pretty self sufficient and it would fit with what I know of my grandfather who was very innovative in his farming. In those days it was considered strange to have goats, pigs and ducks in addition to the traditional sheep and cattle. But my grandfather was a very strong character, intelligent and ambitious for himself and his family. My grandmother... I wish I had known her.
I really think that it is such a shame that we don't get to know our grandparents when we ourselves finally reach an age where we start to be truly interested in our forefathers and mothers. Or am I the only one? Now I have so many questions! I am fascinated by the past and how people lived then. I know a little bit, but not the every day little things that interest me.
|I love that photo of my dad and his mother and siblings.|
She obviously sewed the dresses and probably the pants
as well. The sweaters of Icelandic wool were knitted
by her, but the kids probably knitted their own socks.
So I made this soap to be simple and pure. Something that she might even have made and passed the recipe on to me if things had turned out differently.
It is a small recipe, 500 g:
Olive oil 45% 225g / 7.9oz
Coconut oil 30% 150g / 5.3oz
Cocoa butter 10% 50g / 1.8oz
Sunflower oil 10% 50g / 1.8oz
Castor oil 5% 25g / 0.9oz
Milk 38% 190g / 5.3 oz infused with M. maritime/chamomile
Lye 72g / 2.5 oz
I wanted to use some gentle herbs that won't harm a babies delicate skin so I put a few tablespoons of the Icelandic substitute for chamomile, Matricaria maritima in the milk and warmed it. I then froze the milk and carefully put the lye in, a little at a time. It turned a beautiful yellow colour. I also added a bit of sugar water to the milk. I like the way it increases bubbles. I then put the soap into the freezer to prevent heating. The result is a very softly coloured yellow soap that has no scent whatsoever. There is a lovely simplicity in an unscented soap. The absence of scent is the ultimate clean. Pure like the country air and the bubbling trout river that runs through my grandparents land.
I like to remember them all at this time of the year. I wish I had had the chance to know them. But since that is not possible I like to give my thoughts to them around this time in an attempt to honor and celebrate their lives. Not only my grandmother and her daughters, but also the little branch of the family that died with them. My great aunt and her daughter and her brave nineteen year old grandson, who died after three days in the snow with the two year old in his arms.