And because this is America, it all gets delightfully mixed up. A nice Peruvian family does most of the work at our favorite Greek hamburger joint. We have a good Chinese restaurant where everyone is related and speaks Chinese, but we also indulge in drive-through Panda Express where the chefs are usually Mexican.
|This doesn't look heathy. Is it just me?|
My Grandma was sometimes embarrassed by her inexperience when it came to German cuisine. A German couple moved into our neighborhood and congregation when I was a child, but Grandma could never relate to them. They were a generation younger and a whole lot richer. When they talked about food, it was mostly about things Grandma had never tried.
|Family stories tell of needing wheelbarrows of cash to buy bread.|
Late afternoon just before the market closed the farmers would look through the bushels and baskets, and if it did not look good enough to bring back the next day they would dump it into big garbage trucks. That's where the poor people would watch and sort out the pretty good fruits and vegetables (mostly apples, pears, and oranges). My father always came home with a sack over his shoulder . . ..
Then at home the oval bathtub was on the kitchen table filled with clean water and all the gathered fruit got dumped in and washed good. Then they were nicely peeled and had the bad parts cut out, We children would all stand around the table and eat all we could. It was a favorite supper: bread with sliced pears or apples on it.
Diet staples were bread, potatoes, cabbage with a little meat--usually sausage, when it could be found. Right after the war, things were at their most desperate, as Grandma reported:
When you went to bed and laid your head on a pillow it turned like a carousel and you hold on to the sides of your bed. Walter and especially the children had open sores on their legs and head that would not heal. . .. Many times we would divide the last end of bread for the children and we would find something in the garden to eat--berries, vegetables, etc. It got worse and worse. Every month the ration got cut.
Near starvation made Grandma appreciate simple foods. The LDS welfare services shipped food into Europe as soon as possible after the war. One of the most joyous sections of Grandma's history talks about those food basics.
|Sorry Grandma, I was never thankful for cracked wheat.|
Grandma was thirty and had four children when she immigrated to America. Food was more plentiful, but there was neither time nor money for gourmet ambitions. Grandma was always busy gardening, taking care of children, and working part time for extra money. She cooked constantly to feed the masses, but usually while doing other things. Her youngest sons teased her about being a "pot smoker" because she often put something on to cook, then went out to the garden and forgot about it.
Gardening and preserving food from that garden was a full time job and an essential one. Famine was not abstract to my grandparents. They worked hard to stock up against hard times. Food was the ultimate blessing and never to be wasted. Here is a poem I wrote about Grandma and food a few years after she passed away and I moved into her house.
For many years, there was a family newsletter which each sibling contributed to. When Mom read them out loud to us, we laughed because they were almost all farm reports. Planting, weather, harvesting, took priority over dance recitals and soccer games.
I am quite happy with my finished cowl made from beautiful merino from Mountain Meadows Wool. It is a nearly seamless tube and is very warm. I think it would be great for people who walk year round or cross country ski. It is available in my shop.