Back to basics
Jul. 12, 2011 5:12 pm
Updated: Jul. 14, 2011 7:07 am
I had a privileged childhood. Oh, we weren't by any means wealthy...at least not in monetary terms. But I had a family who gardened and took full advantage of that garden to preserve the bounty for winter. We had apple, pear, and persimmon trees in
the yard, and a sizeable strawberry patch growing wild in our pasture. I picked tons of blackberries growing wild along the pasture fence every summer.
I spent the better part of my childhood with my great grandmother. My family is "country folk". They gardened, they grew their own chickens and meat (and smoked the meat, too), they harvested honey from the wild, and made butter churned by hand with milk
from a local farmer.
I was privileged to grow up this way. Trips to the store were very simple; flour, sugar, peanut butter, coffee...that's about it. Everything else was right at your fingertips; you need only go pick the vegetables, shoo the chickens to gather the eggs, or
step into that wonderfully fragrant smokehouse to get the ham. Or head to the root cellar for preserves, jelly, etc.
I learned to cook largely by watching (and helping) my great grandmother who rarely went a day without cooking at least 2 meals. I grow misty-eyed thinking about those days.
And to the present. Here we are in a society that places the greatest value on monetary things and is willing to pay a premium for convenience. You need only walk an aisle in the grocery store to see that convenience. Premade, prepackaged, and consisting
of host of ingredients you can't begin to pronounce let alone know exactly what they are! And they are loaded with salt and sugar.
The movement has always existed to "live off the land" as they say. I know that is true. But never have I desired to be able to do this more than today. I live in the suburbs, so some of the things are beyond my control. I can't have cows or goats for milk
and butter. My garden can only be so big, and I am not able to have beehives for my own honey.
But you know what I can (and will) do? I can grow as many vegetables as my space allows. And I can give my business to the farmers in my area who try to wring out a living from the land by visiting my farmers market every week. I can refuse to buy processed
foods. And I do these things. I can, I freeze, I pickle. I buy dairy and meat raised or produced locally, if possible. Regionally or at least within the state if not possible locally. I can stay away from McDonald's. I can actually cook at home!
If I must buy from the store, it's not processed food. I make my bread, yogurt, granola, etc. I am a firm believer that anything the food companies can make, I can make better. Perhaps not on the first try, but I can do it eventually! And I can make it
healthier with less sugar and salt and with natural ingredients.
In a few years, my husband and I will move South where we'll find a spot of land. We'll garden even more (longer growing season--YEAH!!), we'll have a few chickens, and we may even try our hand at a cow or two or a couple of goats. And we'll continue to visit
the farmers markets for anything we can't grow.
Back to basics. That's where I'm headed, and I can't wait to get there.