The Backyard

The Backyard

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Food Talk - With A 90-Year Old Woman

"This country's in bad shape," said Geraldine, my 90 year-old, dear mother-in-law. "Is it?" I said. "It's heading toward the depression," my husband said.

Geraldine said "I remember the depression. I was a teenager."

"Do you remember food lines and people out of work?" Jill said.

"No. It was no different for us... we didn't have anything in the first place. But it (food) was different back then. We raised everything ourselves in the backyard. We grew it all. Nowadays, everything comes in a PACKAGE (she said PACKAGE with emphasis and disgust). A PACKAGE of this, and PACKAGE of that. PACKAGE, PACKAGE, PACKAGE. We didn't have packages of anything. People today go to the store and buy packages. It doesn't taste as good either."

She's SO right. I tried to get out of her WHAT they ate, and she kept saying "what they grew." So you can imagine the plethora of fresh vegetables that were grown, then canned for the winter. We have a lot to learn from our elders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very timely post I think. I have met a couple of people who grew up in that time and have had similar reactions to all the packaging/prepared stuff. I know that for many (maybe most) people it is not practical to rely only on what they can grow, it is simply a different world and the clock cannot be turned back (nor, in honesty, would I want it to).

But there is much to learn from that way of thinking, particularly on trying to be seasonal and self-sustainable, planning for ones own needs and taking the time to think things through rather than jumping at the drop of a hat to the store. E.g. rather than going to the store on Thursday for broccoli that you had planned to eat that evening but your family nibbled on for Tuesday lunch, why not do something with those carrots sitting in the fridge? That sort of little thing and flexibility can make a lot of difference. Also the willingness to be a bit limited, ironically - accepting that it is *ok* not to have strawberries in January or blueberries in November. Really, it will be okay if you have to eat mainly apples and pears throughout the winter! And how much better that first strawberry will taste!