Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

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.

By AFarmer

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Ken Carman
14 years ago

Of course why it’s cheaper just to buy rather than put the labor in yourself says a lot about where we get our goods from and how they both treat and pay those who actually help make them. I can’t imagine a lot of what it says is very good. But hey, where would we be if migrant workers couldn’t be used and abused by the system that “employs” them and brings them here, or Chinese slave labor couldn’t put lead in our kids toys, poison in our dog’s food? Better off? Well… yes.

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