Continuing my official “old broad” month…now doubtless proving I am a bossy old broad at that.
I began my grocery shopping today. Just a few quick pick-ups to make sure the menus on the calendar can be made from now till I get to Costco and the military commissary. Fresh produce and some canned goods for Mexican cuisine, mostly. I was watching the very young couple with a tiny baby in the check out line ahead of us. Their cart was a study in advertising success.
The entire cart was filled with plastic bags at the end; but from what I observed on the counter, there was scarcely a meal in the entire mess! It was composed mostly of snack foods — crackers, sweet cereals, microwave popcorn and other such things. I was dismayed at the lack of real nutrition in that cart – mostly relatively empty carbohydrates expensively processed and advertised.
I have talked to many young women and young men, and they don’t know how to cook. I taught all three of my children to cook and to use some basic nutritional rules. The modern “food pyramid” is practically unworkable and way too loaded with cereals. I taught my kids the old four food groups. This is what I’ve learned — just because something is changed, doesn’t mean it is progress or even better!
Home economics used to be a school course with teeth! You had to know what the vitamin content of common foods was, what was a protein food and what was a fat. We DID divide plates into 1/4 for meat or protein, 1/4 for carbs like rice, pasta, or bread, and half for vegetables. A high school grad in 1970, who spent 2 to 4 years in “Home-Ec” knew how to balance a grocery budget and the nutrition over three meals in a day! And dessert was not an everyday thing.
Seeing the younger shoppers makes me realize the health issues and weight problems are because nobody knows how to COOK any more. I have an old cookbook from 1939. It actually should be called a “recipe book” because it is full of recipes; it assumes the person opening the book KNOWS how to cook. Almost no instructions — brief things like “Mix properly and cook, correct seasonings and serve.” I also have one more modern cookbook that calls for jars of sauce or cans of soup. It produces a main course dish in 30 minutes or less, with little cooking knowledge required.
I bake my own bread about 65% of the time. I make all my own jams and preserves. I bake all desserts from scratch. Most meals are from scratch, too. We make our own yogurt. I buy organic products about 50% of the time. It saddens me that while Home Ec is now open to boys and girls — nothing of value is taught there. My own daughter came home laughing after one semester, declaring it a waste of time in the 1990s. I thought she was exaggrating! But looking at the shopping carts, I now sadly wonder if we have forgotten how to feed ourselves!
And I’m not just talking about birthday cake!