I had a question from a reader the other day regarding cleaning soap making utensils and equipment. She wanted to know if it was okay to wash the soap making equipment and use it for other kitchen tasks that involve food. If you thoroughly wash all your utensils and equipment it is fine to use it all for other food making tasks. However, if you use a wooden spoon for soap making, you should dedicate that spoon to that task and store it with your soap making ingredients, rather than keep it in the kitchen. Wooden spoons are porous and might absorb some of the caustic elements of the soap making process and, if left to sit in a pot of stew, might contaminate the stew. I didn't read that anywhere, I thought of it myself.
So when you go to wash your plastic, glass and metal utensils, use your common sense, think about all the cracks and crevices that might hide soap. Soak them in the sink for a while then get a brush and scrub all the areas that might hold soap, or put it all in the dishwasher. When they're thoroughly clean, they're ready for your kitchen tasks. I know there is advice out there that says have a separate set of everything for soap making, but why?
We used to be a society that followed in the footprints of our parents. We had mothers and fathers who set the rules, were role models for their children and who taught by example. Sadly, that is not so common now. Often young people have to ask these questions because they have never seen, first hand, a lot of the things they want to do, like soap making, and they don't trust their own judgement to think it thorough themselves.
Common sense has a role to play in almost everything we do on a daily basis and yet many people don't trust themselves to make safe and sensible decisions. I have often wondered about that and I think it's because many decisions aren't ours to make any more. We are over protected. We have governments and local councils who make rules and regulations about such a wide variety of things, and corporations whose products line our shelves, that we don't really have to think about our own circumstances; we know there is a rule for it or a product we can buy.
I guess that is fine if you want to live a sheltered life, but I don't. I have decided to step outside what is "normal" for my class and age and I want to rely on myself more and others less. Now let me first say that I am not advocating anarchy or even civil disobedience, I am merely saying that I make my own decisions and, if there are any consequences for a wrong decision, I suffer that, and make sure I don't make the same mistake again. I am horrified when I see councils and governments setting regulations and making laws about all manner of things. You can't legislate against stupidity, they should have public awareness campaigns about taking responsibility for ourselves and reviving common sense.
One of the problems is that often we don't even know we are making a decision. For instance, if you buy those antiseptic kitchen wipes, and you haven't thought of the consequences of that, you will be wiping out the normal yeasts and bacteria that should be in your home. Yes, you will get rid of the bad bacteria, but those wipes don't discriminate, they wipe everything out, and then you wonder why you can't make ginger beer, sauerkraut or sour dough. Soap and water, or even a few drops of tea tree oil if you have a bad problem, will get rid of most bugs - the wipes used on a daily basis are overkill.
I love variety, change and difference and that is not a bad thing - you have seen how I live, I am not a radical, I am just advocating that you question, be sceptical, and decide for yourself. And even these words I'm offering to you now, you should question what I say, make sure it suits you and if it doesn't, keep doing what you're doing. But if you question, use your common sense and make decisions based on self reflection, consideration of consequences and how you want to live, you will make a life unlike any other.
I mean no disrespect highlighting this soap making question. I actually do understand why it was asked - skills are not being passed on, and being multi-skilled develops self confidence. But I hope to use the opportunity to highlight what I see as an underlying problem of mass dependence on needing, and sometimes wanting, others to think for us. There is a lot to be said for taking responsibility for one's self, questioning the way things are done and making your own way. My way might not be the right way for everyone else, but it suits me fine and it is like that because I think about my decisions, ignore rules that don't make sense to me and use my common sense. And that, my friends, has made all the difference.