Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I was born to a farm family in Iowa where we basically ate what we grew or raised with only a few exceptions. My mother baked bread twice a week. We canned our garden vegetables or froze them. We made jam from strawberries we picked. we made pie from rhubarb in the garden. We drank milk from our own cows which were milked by hand back then, and we had our own home churned butter. We ate only meat from our own animals and we had to do the nasty work of killing and butchering them ourselves. We washed clothes in a wringer washer, hung them outside on a line, took them down, and ironed lots and lots. We washed dishes every night and if we needed the rugs cleaned, we took them out and beat them or shook them.
It was not an easy life. We worked hard. And nobody was fat in my family then. As we grew up and embraced the American dream of convenience and work saving appliances, you can guess what happened. The struggles with weight began. No more pies or cookies or cakes or jam or butter for us. We had to watch it! We gave our kids a great life with not many chores like we had had. We got our TV sets and washers and dryers and dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. And we struggled even more.
Today in the US we have a crisis of obesity and overweight. I think there is a connection here and an obvious choice we need to make. It's time to get rid of some conveniences and start doing some work again. The plus side of that kind of life (which still exists on Amish farms....ever see a fat Amish?) is that is can be very satisfying and creative. It also saves money. And no packaging to throw away, no preservatives or chemicals in the food that you don't put there yourself and no worry about what is leaching out of the plastic containers.
No, I don't expect that we will return to that life, but as time has gone by, I have appreciated it much more, learned to be proud of what I learned then and still use today, sad to see us lose that healthier but harder lifestyle. Maybe we could all learn to do with a little less convenience for the sake of our health And be proud of it.
So .... go bake some bread. Knead like crazy. Bend and put it in the oven, bend and lift it out. Slice it up for dinner. I wonder how many calories you would burn?