When I was a child, there were many summer mornings when my 2 brothers, 5 sisters, and I would awaken to two children's wading pools full of beans and peas, picked by my father and ready to be snipped and shelled so my mother could freeze them and can them. You see, when I was a child, our family grew three gardens.
- One in front complete with grapes on vines and yummy strawberries. (We had to fight the birds for them...)
- Two in the back yard brimming with rows of corn, green beans, peas, and tomatoes.
My father also had a coop full of chickens. I stayed away from those dirty birds - I was afraid of getting my eyes pecked! ( I was much shorter then...) I rarely ever ventured into their lair for eggs because:
- it smelled
- it was dark
- I didn't want to die a pecking death!
My mother canned everything she could: fish my dad caught, pie cherries, peaches that we helped pluck from the trees, pears, apricots from the apricot tree in the yard, beans from the garden, raspberries from Bear Lake, and, yes, even tomatoes from the garden. Aside from canning, she froze peas and corn from the garden, and made oodles of freezer jam: strawberry and raspberry. She even made concentrated purple grape juice from the rows of grapes in the front garden to be served only at Sunday dinner. What an industrious woman she had to be - to feed 8 mouths in a time when money was tight. It seemed like the normal thing to do when I was a child. Only now do I realize what a chore it all was. It was work, but it was worth the effort when we got to eat from those delicious bottles of golden peaches and savor the yummy jam on her homemade bread. It was normal to us.
I gave Alyssa a book for Christmas entitled Plenty. I thought she would enjoy it because of its "back to nature" subtitle. However, I ended up reading it after she decided it was a little too slow for her. I needed a good read for the summer during my lazy afternoons at the pool. This book didn't disappoint me. I really enjoyed reading the month by month account of the food that was to be found in the authors' 100-mile diet. As I reached the last month's account, I had so many memories flood my brain about my childhood food experiences, that I just had to share and recommend the book to anyone who may have "endured" those summer mornings of picking, plucking, snipping, and shelling. Wow. I feel spoiled and a bit lazy that I haven't carried on any of the childhood canning, bottling, freezing, and pressure cookering that my incredible mother did regularly each year. "Times they are a changin'"
Read this book. I don't know that you or I would be able or willing to eat like the authors, but it'll make you think about the food you eat and it may influence your food choices for the better.
May you all have Plenty!