Married to my husband now, we live with his parents in Jagakarsa, The wow thing is, I’ve been learning so many things since then. One thing that I was amazed at the very first time is: They live incredibly sustainable! (to my opinion).
So here are some things they do:
1. Don’t Bin Everything!
My husband’s family is Javanese full-blood. His parents spend their childhood in Kampong at Wonosari. They experienced farming themselves. I’m not even sure whether this fact relates their sustainable living. I just always think that native Javanese has an amazing sense of awareness to the nature.
That’s it! Awareness to the Nature.
Their family are tea lovers. Each day in every morning and evening, there are always tea to serve. One kind of tea they usually consume is that jasmine tea we call “teh tubruk”. To serve it, we should steep the raw-chopped tea leaves and jasmine flowers with a freshly boiled water. This infusion can last to 2-3 times re-steeping.
That’s it. In this step, first, my family doesn’t have the behavior of tea-time. Second thing is, by the very first infusion, my family will discard the remaining~ right when we feel like we don’t want to drink it no more. The third thing is what makes me amazed, which I was never learned in my family, and in addition, nor I would ever think we could do that. Instead of discarding the infusion to the bin, my mother-in-law taught me to dissolve it in more water, put it on a bowl, and have me water the plants with that!
Wow! Am I exaggerating it a.k.a. lebay? It’s just amazing! It turns something that we (I) think like they are useless thing but beyond my prediction they can return to the nature just like where they were picked. Oh my dear tea leaves, may you have a happy life there, in the pot, touching the soil, letting your body dissolve as the soil degrade you.
2. Preserve it!
Since our extended family now consist of only five persons; My parents in law, my husband’s brother, my husband, plus me ~ on the contrary to my family which consist of my parents and their as much as 9 children including me which makes it as much as 11 persons in a house… Well, you can imagine, I live now with a family that likely shrinks to more that fifty-five percent of the previous family I lived; my own family.
So, the difference that I feel is, we cook very minimum amount of food that can be prepared. Partly because we are only five. Other part is the condition that: his brother is a high school student which has many activities which makes him arrived home at the evening. My husband at lunch time will be at his office. So if I am home, There are only three to feed for lunch. ~ When the dinner time comes and my brother in law has brought some food, the cooked things will only be eaten by three again ~ me, my husband, and my mother in law, since my father in law do not eat dinner.
It makes that very little amount of food cooked stays remain. So my mother in law will reheat it if it can be reheated. Everything that’s left uneaten and not suitable for reheating will be stored in the fridge. That makes the fridge full, besides those row supplies.
But the other thing is, those left-uneaten-fridged food will make themselves some customizable content of other food, simply like fried rice! So, having pieces of fried chicken? A lot of rendang in those Lebaran times? Some sauteed beans? Sauteed tempe or tofu? Just mix them all to your frying pan. Their precooked condition will enrich your fried rice taste. I have also seen a lot people doing mixing those left food into some other creative cuisine. Call it mixed-pie, pizza, or other things to your will. You can even create a lumpia! Bun bread! Anything that’s just consisted of two parts; the shell and the content. Happy creating!
3. Use those in your garden! (or ~ well, plant it first :p)
My husband’s family is a never-let-vegetable-nodes-cooked-without-bay-leaves (only in Indonesia, there is a special bay leave called daun salam). Well it’s a big mistake! One day I cooked a spinach nodes without bay leaves, and my husband and I argued. I think adding bay leaves is inappropriate due to the distinctive aroma those leaves will contaminate. My husband thinks, vegetable nodes without bay leaves is a whack. I called it nonsense. He said it will afresh the taste. So well I tried to be used to the bay leaves and I succeeded (I’m a good wife, aren’t I?). Indeed, there is something missing with those vegetable nodes without bay leave aroma.
What I tried to tell you is, that the bay leaves are only a pick away in our roof garden. Haha.
The other story is, that It was a joy when the first time I (or my mother in law) cooked a fried rice for the family with pace leaves (daun mengkudu) from the garden. Wow! It can be a food!
It reminds me to that times in my childhood, before the garden had been turned into motors parking, when my mother in the kitchen asked me to take some citrus leaves to cook soto, some pandan leaves to add flavor to the pudding, or to pluck some belimbing wuluh (kinda starfruit, but it is smaller and green, more sour) to add to the fish curry.
Lately these days, my father built a square of 1×3 meters in front of my family’s second house. Filled by goods of soil, he sowed some pak coy seeds into it. Weeks later, my husband and I harvested them and we felt like never been happier than ever!
So, try it. Put anything you are used to cook in the garden; pandan, salam (bay), lemon, some other your favorite fruit trees, and feel free to feel happier than ever when you harvest them.
I wonder what might be the recipe of those farmers live longer is not only they do physical works more and be less polluted than us here. They must live longer because of the happiness of eating their own harvest.