There is nothing like teaching...to prove to yourself how much you don't know. On the other hand each time I teach, I learn more.
I taught my first soap making class yesterday and thanks to a great group of first timers it went very well. Even though I had spent a good amount of time trying to figure out (in my head) how to coordinate lye mixing, oil measuring and soap tracing, it did not quite work out the way I planned.
The class was focusing on basic soap making. It was sponsored by the oldest know farm of Livingston County, Spence Farm and called "Little White Lye" since I was to demonstrate how good soap can be made from simple ingredients like lye and lard.
The only problem...I forgot the lard.
I did remember four other kinds of base oils, numerous pitchers, bowls, spatulas, mixers, a scale, plastic gloves, eyes goggles, electric fry pan to keep the coconut oil in liquid form, vinegar, paper towels , essential oils, garbage bags, molds, measuring cups and plastic spoons to name a few items. But the lard got left on the kitchen table. Right where I had out it early that morning so I wouldn't forget it.
Oh well. The group did not stone me or ask me to leave. They were a forgiving group. They even paid for the class and in return I taught them how to mix lye safely and reach trace easily. And each participant went home with 7 bars of beautiful soap they made with their own two hands.
I had great help. Class participants who helped each other measure oils and remind each other how not to get bubbles in their soap. People who reminded each other to wear their gloves and goggles when working with the lye water and raw soap. Folks who came early to help set up and stayed late to tear down. And at the end of the afternoon we left the old schoolhouse smelling better than it had in almost 100 years.
And nobody suffered a lye burn. Yeah for that.