Every bit of the food that was eaten at the farm was either home-grown or produced locally. Not only did we know where it grew, we knew who grew it. Exception; salt.
Good food can be very simple to prepare, and here is a classic from our kitchen:
Using a thick-bottomed pot, slowly cook to browning point in some good bacon fat, and stirring often, several big onions, chopped small, the best you can get.**
While that is going on, boil a batch of mealy* potatoes, chopped into fairly small bits, and when they are three-quarter done, drain them of most of the water and add them to the pot with the onions, allowing them to get well-toasted on the bottom of the pan before turning them over. Do this until all the spuds have been in the heat, and then add a little more water, salt, white pepper and the lid to finalise the cooking.
Sometimes leftover stewing beef chopped fine is also added to the potage, and while it is not necessary, it sure tastes great all the same.
Nothing is better than a big plate of broth and then a dollop of stovies on really cold winter days. It warms the body and satisfies the heart.
What more does anyone need?
*Another small exception, the onions were delivered several times a year by Frenchmen on bicycles, Onion Johnnies, we called them, the next order having been placed the previous time he came round.
**mealy means floury and quick to break down.
I hadn’t planned to say this, but the fingers have kept going.
The connection to what we eat has been badly eroded of late, now we have no idea where the products come from, who grew them, how old they are and if they have been treated with colourant and chemicals to keep them looking good.
None of these ‘modern’ food practices, I believe, will hold for the really long term, but for the moment there they are, and they are not for the best. Things will have to change, and as that could happen very suddenly, it’s best to be thinking ahead, and planning a garden and researching local sources of food.
This is not so hard to arrange; do it for yourself, or start or join a group of people who are of the same mind.
Buying locally allows those who do the work to know what market they will be selling to, and as a result, they will be able to plan ahead for each year, and be ready to meet the needs of their regular customers.
Nothing hard about that, just do it, make the effort to discover who, in your area, works to put good food on your table.
Daily my disappointment at the lack of quality of food in the stores increases, and more and more I have to search hard for items I know will please my family.
This is the growing dark side of consumerism which has become pricey and unsatisfactory. Often we are buying pretty bags and boxes and a lot of flat air, none of which does anything in the way of nutrition, and our level of enjoyment of the result is very, very low.
We must do better; there are a few signs, but the local farmers and producers don’t know what’s wanted unless you turn up at their door and ask for it.
The big stores are not in the business of feeding us, but in moving goods through the building at the highest price and as fast as they can. It doesn’t hinder to ask in those places for the very best food, but don’t expect it to automatically appear.