Herd About It?
by Ana Grarian
I’m just back from the grocery store where I was stocking up for Thanksgiving dinner. These days I bring part of the meal, someone else brings another part and we meet up at the hosts house where the turkey is cooked. Only one of us has a kitchen big enough to really cook in, and that’s no farm kitchen. Actually our farm kitchen wasn’t big like the one I grew up with, but at least you could use the kitchen table to work on.
My current kitchen has an apartment size stove, 12 inches of counter and a single bowl sink. The counter space is the top of a dresser. No table – no room. I do have an average size refrigerator. One of my children lives in his repair shop where appliances often double as workbenches. The other has a kitchen slightly bigger than mine.
On the farm I had my mother’s (grandmother’s?) pie plates. A BIG deep one for apple pie. An 11 inch pyrex for pumpkin and 9 inch for pecan. I had bread pans and muffin pans, racks of spices, cannisters for sugars and flour. We had a big board for rolling out pie shells and cookie dough. I must of had 3 rolling pins. We bought eggs in flats of 30 directly from the farmer and lots of milk. Today I have to buy everything at once as I have no storage space.
After 4 trips around the store to find what I wanted, needed, could make do with, a strange phenomena came to mind. It was cheaper to buy a complete frozen pie, ready to heat and serve, than to make one. Heck – it was cheaper to buy one of the store’s bakery pies. I bought two – the pecan pie I will make myself.
The guilt is eating me up. Those two pies won’t be our family recipe. I probably wouldn’t have caved except they were out of pumpkin. If the 1/2 pumpkin I still have in my fridge is good I will probably make pumpkin bread in the hopes that my granddaughter will eat it. I will lavish time and talent on a new cranberry-jalapeno sauce I’m trying, and a new apple cider gravy.
On average – as opposed to the kitchens we see on the BHG channel – the modern kitchen is woefully inadequate. I have seen McMansions with smaller kitchens than a 14×70 trailer. Many cooks haven’t grown up cooking from scratch. If it doesn’t pop into a microwave they don’t know what to do with it. They think boxed macaroni and cheese is what it’s supposed to tatse like.
It will be a long haul to teach people to cook from good ingredients no less grow their own food, or pick it out at a farmers market. I might just go back out and get real ingredients – those pies can wait in the freezer until we need them for last minute guests.