The Value of Knowing How

I don’t make everything from scratch. I’m sorry if that bursts any bubbles or if any of you felt that I’d led, er misled, you to think that. But I don’t.


For example– I buy tortillas. I find they’re relatively easy to find with a short, non-scary ingredient list, and my family likes the taste just fine. We tend to be more focused on the fillings in this house. ;) Much like Crystal, I find that the potential savings or advantages just do not outweigh the time required for the task. And I’m not exactly speedy…


But today, before getting my big kids on the bus, I rolled and cooked a dozen tortillas for the soft tacos we’ll be eating.


Why? Because I didn’t have any. A miscalculation on my grocery list (due in large part to a weekend trip that was postponed) left me short a bag.


I could have run to the store. That extra ninety-nine cents isn’t going to break our budget. We don’t live gazillions of miles from town. It wouldn’t have been a huge issue.


But I had flour. Oil. Baking powder. Salt. Even more important, I had a decent pocket of time while my son read to me from his school book. And I knew how to make them.

Instead of loading up the toddler after getting her siblings on the bus, driving to town, and attempting to resist buying anything else in the store, I had fresh tortillas, wrapped in a tea towel, done by 8 am.


There is value in knowing how.


This holds true for a lot of things in my life, to be honest. I don’t regularly mill my own flour (or bake gluten-free), but my resourcefulness and know-how meant I could whip up rice flour pancakes when my canister ran dry. I don’t often make my own yogurt; the store-bought plain stuff works fine for us. But I can. And, when we’re running low, I do.


I sometimes wonder if my daughters (or son, for that matter) will one day bake their own kaiser rolls. Or make homemade pizza dough. Or their own granola. I wonder if years and years of watching their mama do it will wear off and it will be second nature.


I don’t know. But I do know that they’ll know how. And there’s value in that.

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13 comments to The Value of Knowing How

  • oh so true. For me it’s like that with baking buns or bread. I’ve done it a few times and then it just sits in the freezer, but I do know how just in case people drop by unexpectedly. Some things also just taste better store-bought. For us that includes things like bread, burgers, and tortillas. Not very healthy ;P.

  • Great post! Your tortillas look so good. Mine always turn out a bit lumpy, I think that might have to do with the lack of a real rolling pin in my kitchen drawer. The bottom of my tea kettle doesn’t it lend itself towards the most even tortilla:)

  • My husband raved, but I felt super disappointed by the flavor of my homemade tortillas (or lack thereof, really). I stick with store bought, though never for as low as $0.99!

  • Laraba

    Great point! I think just knowing how is very valuable. There are many things I don’t know how to do (like sew) and sometimes it comes back and bites me.

    We live probably 10 minutes from a store but going is such a production (especially right now, as we had our son on May 24th) that I work hard not to make quick trips to the grocery store. Well, I just don’t. We do without if necessary!

  • I love to challenge myself to make new things from scratch. Gaining the knowledge to make something that I previously thought could only be purchased is invaluable. I feel so much more confident in my ability to feed my family when I take the time to learn how to cook things myself. I might not always do it that way, but knowing how is key.

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