My mother is a great cook. She understands how everything goes together and everything she makes is wonderful. Her banana bread is so delicious. Once I asked her for the recipe and she gave it to me on an index card. I went back home and tried it, but it didn't taste at all like my mother's banana bread. So the next time I went home, I asked my mother to make the banana bread and show me what she did.
Reading the recipe card and watching her make the bread were two quite different things! I grabbed another card and titled it: "What Mother Really Does." We now have a standing joke in my family: If you like a recipe, we always ask the cook, "OK, so, how did you 'mother' it?"
I believe that what the lotion maker in The Backyard Beekeeper actually did and what the recipe said were two quite different things.
Today I saw a friend who once upon a time made hand lotion from his herb garden. I asked him what the secret to success with lotion is? He told me to whip it up in the blender while it cools and it will be soft like commercial lotion.
I came home and popped the hard little candle-like lotion nuggets out of the containers in which I had poured them and put them in the Pyrex measuring cup. I placed the whole thing in a pan of hot water and re-melted the lotion. When it was liquid, I added a little lanolin (not in the recipe) and about a tablespoon of cocoa butter.
So here's the process of putting it all together:
Backyard Beekeeper recipe:
2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup palm oil (I couldn't find it at Whole Foods and used almond oil instead)
3/4 cup coconut oil
6 ounces beeswax
40 - 50 drops essential oil (I used lemon)
Melt the oils and butters. Add the beeswax and melt together. Test the mix by dropping five or six drops onto waxed paper to cool so you can see how hard it gets. If too hard, add more oil, if too soft or greasy, add more beeswax to stiffen. When it begins to cool, stir in six drops of Vitamin E oil. If you want fragrance, add essential oils after removing the pan from the heat.
The above results in hard candle-like green bars (green because of the extra virgin olive oil).
What I really did (how I "mothered" the recipe (as we say in my family):
- I heated the olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil in an 8 cup Pyrex measure sitting in a pan of boiling water.
- When the liquids were hot, I added 6 ounces of beeswax and melted it in the hot oil.
- I took this off of the heat and added six drops of Vitamin E and drops of lemon essential oil (it still smells like beeswax - probably not enough lemon - but I love the beeswax smell).
- After this hardened and I wasn't happy with it, I remelted the whole thing,
- I added 1 T of cocoa butter and 1 tsp. lanolin.
- I cooled it until it was beginning to solidify.
- I put the whole mix in the blender and ran it on "puree" for about 10 minutes.
- I then let the mix cool for about an hour in the blender jar and turned the blender on to "puree" about every 10 minutes for about a minute's duration.
What a mess this made! I gave my daughter who came to dinner a jar to take home with her. I am out of containers (ordered more from Majestic Mountain Sage last week) so I put the remaining lotion in a tupperware container. I believe this recipe would make about 1 dozen 2 oz jars. I filled eight jars and the 8 ounce Tupperware container.